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 Gulbrand Sether  (1869 - 1941)

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Lived/Active: Illinois / Norway      Known for: snowscene, nocturne, still life

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Gulbrand Sether
An example of work by Gulbrand Sether
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Fine Arts Collection, Luther College:
Gulbrand Sether was born in Saerskovbygda, Elverum, Norway, in 1869. He worked on Norwegian ships which traveled as far north as the Arctic Circle. After studying art in Norway with the Norwegian city and landscape painter, Fritz Thaulow, he emigrated to the US in 1893. He worked at numerous odd jobs, as waiter, dishwasher, and train conductor. About 1900 he settled in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, an area heavily populated by Norwegian-Americans. He had his own studio and devoted himself to artistic pursuits. He was the author of the book Sønnen paa Hofstad: Norsk-Amerikansk Fortaelling af Gulbrand Sether (Chicago, IL: John Anderson Publishing Co., 1917). Sether died in 1941.

Sether exhibited at the Norse-American Centennial Art Exhibition June 6-9, 1925, which was held at the Minnesota State Fair. He also showed at the Chicago Norske Klub's Annual Norwegian Art Exhibits which started in December 11-19, 1920. These annual exhibits ended in 1931 when the Norse Art League was formed. Gulbrand Sether exhibited there at Den Norske Kafe on North Avenue (in March and December 1931) but the Art League died that same year. Works by him were exhibited in an exhibition called “The Divided Heart: Scandinavian Immigrant Artists 1850-1950,” curated at the University of Minnesota in 1982. His paintings were also shown in the exhibit, “Norway in America,” sponsored by Vesterheim in Norway in 1989.

The Luther College Fine Arts Collection includes one work by Sether, a snow scene, possibly a landscape of northern Norway. This work is included in the Inventory of American Paintings maintained by the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution.

Ref: Erickson, Rolf H. “Norwegian-American Artists” in Essays on Norwegian-American Literature and History… Northfield, MN: Norwegian-American Historical Association, 1986; Erickson, Rolf H. “Norwegian-American Artists’ Exhibitions Described in Checklists and Catalogs” in Norwegian-American Studies. Vol. 31. Northfield, MN: Norwegian-American Historical Association, 1986; Lovoll, Odd S. A Century of Urban Life: the Norwegians in Chicago Before 1930. Northfield, MN: Norwegian-American Historical Association, 1988.


Written and submitted by Jane Kemp
Professor; Circulation-Special Collections Librarian
Supervisor, Fine Arts Collection (http://finearts.luther.edu)
Luther College
Decorah, IA 52101

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