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Ragnar Kraugerud (1909 - 1987)

Many of Kraugerud’s paintings are marked by dark contours. He dramatically simplified his subjects and only let the most important elements remain. But despite such austerity, he was generous in laying on paint, layer by layer, until his pictures gained a rough surface. The technique harmonises well with the subjects and seems to imbue them with an immediacy and a foreboding undertone. Like several other artists represented in the Hafsten Collection, Kraugerud was strongly influenced by German Expressionism. The French Expressionist George Rouault (1871–1958), known from painting with heavy black contours, probably also influenced Kraugerud.

"My first Kraugerud painting was called "Family". I bought it from him at Slependen on the recommendation of Harald Dal. I remember Dal pointed to a part of the canvas that was too white and asked Kraugerud to tune the color a bit. He did it right away. "Wood Cutters" I bought several years after it was painted. I was slightly in doubt at first. The picture was first exhibited in Stockholm and then in Gothenburg, and I had not yet decided. Kraugerud told me that a Swedish museum was interested in the picture, whereupon I immediately bought it. The luck followed me then." (Halvdan Hafsten)

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Family, 1940. Purchased from the artist

‘A picture of barrenness. I didn’t want these people to sit in beds, on chairs or stand against walls, but try to focus on their faces in order to insert them into the pictorial plane. These are mountain people, and they have become this way by living a simple and difficult life.’ (Written by the artist at Hafsten’s request)

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Horse I, 1938. Purchased through Director Bredo Grimsgaard, Oslo, 1951

‘“Horse I” stems from the same period as “Hoggere” (“Wood Cutters”). I tried to create a lyricism of loneliness. It’s a magical subject that I worked with until it became an almost ornamental simplification.’
(Written by the artist at Hafsten’s request)

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Mountain People, 1945. Purchased from the artist

‘This picture is more realistic than the others. The visual appearance here has more significance than the reflections. The primitive and down-to-earth environment has been an inspiring factor.’
(Written by the artist on Hafsten’s request)

Article and archive selection
Hanne Beate Ueland, Director Stavanger art museum

Photos
Stavanger art museum