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 Bernhard Dorotheus Folkestad  (1879 - 1933)

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Lived/Active: Norway/England      Known for: interior scene, landscape, figure, opulent still life and poultry painting

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Interiør med skrivende kvinne
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Bernhard Folkestad first attracted attention with opulent still life of vegetables and fruit, and later as a painter of interiors and landscapes. He was also a brilliant writer, and his essay collections are fun reading and cultural history at it's best.

Folkestad father was for some years assistant at the Norwegian Seamen's Mission in London, and Bernhard was born in one of the most notorious streets down to the Thames. 1882 the family moved to Drammen, where Bernard grew up in the so-called "Asylum Farm" on Strømsø. After graduating from Drammen grammar school in 1896, he began an apprenticeship in decorative art in Christiania, and was also a student at SHKS, before he went to Copenhagen in 1902. Here he briefly  attended Kristian Zahrtmann's art school. The same year he married Kari Selvig, and the newlyweds tried a year as farmers and fishermen on a small farm in Askvoll, before they returned to Copenhagen. There Folkestad from 1903-04 was a student of naturalist Lauritz Tuxen in Peder Severin Krøyer's painting school.

After returning to Norway in 1904, the family lived for a time in Drammen, before 1905 rented an old coal burning house, called "Kølabonn" a croft under the Freedom Scientific farm in Asker. This was the start of Folkestad's most productive period, and the home in Asker was a popular gathering place for a circle of painters and poets, including neighbors. Folkestad debuted in 1905 at the Autumn Exhibition  with the painting Dark Attic, which was purchased for the National Gallery.

Folkestad went on a study trip to Lübeck, Hamburg and Amsterdam in 1907, the same year he had his first solo exhibition with the Christiania Art Society. "His first exhibition resembled a torvdag: there were all kinds of cabbages, flowers, carrots and chicken ... He did very good luck, became famous and got a lot of orders for dining rooms and staircases, "wrote Kristian Haug to Folkestad upon his 50th birthday in 1929.  The National Gallery purchased paintings Chickens in the Autumn Sun and Vegetables, a colour fanfare two cabbages.

In 1909 Folkestad  studied in Paris at the Académie Colarossi, where he was a great admirer of Christian Krogh. He was one of "The Six" (along with Theodor Laureng, Henrik Lund, Ludvig Karsten, Søren Onsager and Anders Svarstad), also called "Krohgs creatures", a group that came to stand in contradiction to the circle around Erik Werenskiold. From 1910 to 1911 he was in Berlin, where "The Six" exhibited with great success, and in 1913 he was again in Paris. Later, he also had a trip to the lush country of Brazil (1926).

With a series of missions came prosperity, and in 1916 the family moved to the Commercial building at Drammensveien in Christiania, and "Kølabonn" became a resort. About the same time the painter bought the old captain's house on the beach Brøtsøy outside Tjøme, built a studio on the hillside above and also bought Colin Archer's boat, Saskia.

1921 Bernhard Folkestad's first essay was printed in Future Signs and his activity as a writer took more and more time away from the easel. His overall production as an artist was thus not so great. When Drammen Museum in 1983 made an exhibition of his work with a comprehensive collecton effort, it resulted in 284 works.

Folkestad was one of the neo-impressionists, and his paintings show a spontaneous and carefree beauty and joy of all that was beautiful and harmonious. His many still lifes and animal pictures were often in un-traditional designs - a baroque mix of vegetables, flowers and toys or colorful chickens. Chickens were festive and cheap models! The greatest variation and sensitivity in the use of color and composition, he showed was perhaps in his interiors and portraits, as in Pariser Breakfast (1909) and From the Studio (1911), both with his wife as a model. Apart from family and friends, he also painted portraits of such Oda Krogh, the Swedish singer Anna Pettersson-Norrie, Nikolai Astrup, Karoline Bjørnson and Einar Sissener.

 Source:
"Bernhard Folkestad", Norwegian Encyclopedia (2005-2007), //nbl.snl.no/Bernhard_Folkestad/utdypning (Accessed 7/5/2013)

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Bernhard Folkestad  (1879 - 1933)

Bernhard Folkestad was born the 13 June 1879in London, and received his preliminary training in Copenhagen and Paris, exhibiting for the first time at Christiania in 1901. In common with Oluf Wold -Torne (1867-1919), Thorvald Erichsen (see AskART), and other young Norwegians who have come under Danish influences, Folkestad displays an opulent harmony of vision, which has added a welcome note to modern Norwegian painting.

There is indeed nothing in the art of the past generation that in any way challenges comparison with these splendidly seen and eloquently handled bits of fruit and flowers or these studies of poultry feeding in sunlit cottage kitchen-garden. The talented group to which Folkestad belongs seems to have decided in favour of tonalism instead of crisply dazzling outdoor effects.

Their work is always discreetly sumptuous in coloring. It is an appeal to the senses rather than a scientific analysis of light or a rigorously simplified arrangement of line. They are avowed beauty lovers, these men, and as such their art year by year gains both in distinction and in maturity of utterance.

Submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke

Source:
Christian Brinton, the Catalogue for the 1912 -1913
EXHIBITION of CONTEMPORARY SCANDINAVIAN ART,
New York, Buffalo, Toledo, Chicago and Boston.
 

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