Jarle Rosseland
Tuesday, August 1, 2000

Jarle Rosseland


What is it that makes a young artist look at his country's heritage and want to share it with the world? Jarle Rosseland has no answers, and yet, inspired by his county's history, literature, and landscapes, he has devoted his life to just such work. In the words of Juraj Baldani of Yugoslavia, "he seeks to combine traditional with modern forms of expression, his national heritage with avantgarde techniques and use of color."

Jarle Rosseland was born in 1952 in Bergen, on Norway's west coast. His father was an artist, and when Jarle was a young boy, his family moved to Oslo to reside and work in a special artist' community at Ekely. There he grew up, amidst some of the country's finest artists. His father was his first teacher, and but the age of 16 Jarle became a member of the Norwegian young Artists' Association. At the almost unprecedented age of 18, one of his paintings was accepted in Oslo's prestigious annual Autumn Art Exhibition.

In the early 1970s, Jarle graduated from college and began the first of his many periods of travelling and working abroad. He soon became established in Connecticut and New York, working with Bruce Whyte and the Original Print Collectors Group. "I was immediately taken with his strong commitment to the demanding woodcut medium," Whyte later wrote. "As a publisher of original prints, finding high-caliber woodcuts happens rarely, and discovering Jarle's beautifully printed images was a rare an unexpected treat for me."

In 1973, Jarle married Signe Andersen, who has since served as both colleague an helpmate. By 1974, Jarle had returned to Norway, become a father and completed a series of 25 prints inspired by Henrik Ibsen's play "Peer Gynt". Four years later, the collection was purchased by the Henrik Ibsen Museum.

During the mid-1970s, Jarle Rosseland's life was devoted to travel and work. In 1974 alone he exhibited work in15 separate cities. In 1975 he added New York, Florida, and Yugoslavia to his exhibition schedule. The next year he won a prize from the West German Süddeutsche Zeitung and added Italy to his list. Exhibition fell upon exhibition, and in 1982, now the father of two children, Jarle was awarded scholarship by the Ingrid Langaard Foundation to live and work in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts. The same year, he completed a series of 10 multicolored linocuts called the Viking Suite and an additional 8-motive set inspired by the far norh entitled "Near the arctic Circle".

In 1983, Philip Mead, Managing Director of Kinaree-Unicorn Art Company in Bankok, spotted some of the prints from "The Viking Suite" hanging in an Oslo Art gallery window and was immediately taken with them. "His landscapes are enveloped with an artistic affection which reflects the artist's intense love of his culture and environment." He wrote to the artist, "You have permitted your own Scandinavian heritage to shine through your work, and that - to my own mind - is to be applauded."

Jarle Rosseland worked exclusively on the 24 linocuts composing "The Vinland Suite" during 1984 and 1985. He, himself has printed each print of the 200 limited editions. This newest work is dedicated to the Viking discovery of Vinland - America - and reflects not only the strength and power of the historical event, but also of the artist.

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