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In a bay along the Sognefjord, Norway

Painting travellers’ journey at sea

At possibly one of the most stunning spots in between mountains and the Sognefjord, the popular town of Balestrand had no lack of visitors. The artists who came to Balestrand in the 19th century created a flourishing art environment which contributed to the development of Balestrand as a favourite national and international holiday destination. 

Some of these artists were interested in painting romantic rural scenes, others played with scenes of mountains and fjords. At that time in the 19th century, many artists grew more and more fascinated with the idea of ‘the wild’ and untouched nature. 

At that time, people would travel the sea along the whole Norwegian coast, from Stavanger in the south to Svalbard in the north. Many hired painters to paint scenes from their journeys before photography took over. Some artists travelled to known holiday destinations to paint and sell their pictures to the tourists. Balestrand was such a place.

It was the landscape that drew artists to Balestrand then, and it’s what still attracts visitors to this day. Some go hiking the trails around the area, while more adventurous visitors try the mountains. Culturally, the architecture around Balestrand is also quite unique. Internationally renowned artists commissioned the building of villas in ‘dragon style’. These richly decorated houses can be seen along the fjord. A sight.

The main artists who lived and worked here:

Johannes Flintoe (*1787 – 1970)
Hans Fredrik Gude (*1825 – 1903)
Adelsteen Normann (*1848 – 1918)
Professor Hans Dahl (*1849 – 1937)
Johannes Johannessen (*1859 – 1929)
Alfred Heaten Cooper (*1864 – 1929)
Hans Andreas Dahl (*1881 – 1919)
Ivar Høyvik (*1881 – 1961)
Magnus Sande (*1919 – 2007)
Aase Kvikne Bjordal (*1921 – 2009)

Balestrand kommune
Kong Beles veg 20
6899 Balestrand
Norsk Reise­livs­museum
Holmen 12,
6899 Balestrand
+47 474 53 053
Midtnes Hotel - Art Collection
Kong Beles veg 33
6899 Balestrand
+47 57 69 42 40
Kviknis Hotel - Art Collection
Kviknevegen 8
6899 Balestrand
+47 57 69 42 00
Website artist village Balestrand