Arts and Gardens

Explosion of colors

Intense movement. That is the first, striking impression in the encounter with Knut Rumohr’s painting.

¬Knut Rumohr, 1967
Knut Rumohr, 1967
Alf E. Andresen

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The visible brushstrokes do not form straight lines; they vibrate across the surface in waves that propagate into colorful explosions. Central to the picture is a red curve that meanders down from the painting’s left side, almost dividing the image in half lengthwise. The rest of the painting seems to emanate from that red zone, or perhaps, conversely, to be drawn towards it.

Emerging from the red, we particularly notice the wavy lines of gray edged with white. In combination with the red field, they make up an image of thick, opaque smoke. The composition of orange, purple, red and black creates associations to fire. But, as is often the case with these pictures, it is also possible to see something completely different. Suddenly, the head of a Native American Chief with feather headdress appears out of the sweeping strokes. In viewing the painting, we are pulled into the dancing coats of color, just like when we stare into flames.

Knut Rumohr (1916-2002) was a painter and printmaker. He was from Sogn og Fjordane, and frequently drew inspiration from the western Norwegian nature for his landscape abstractions and decorative works. Rumohr had a number of major art commissions, and is represented in prestigious institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK and the Moderna Museet in Sweden.