Mother and Dad, Bernhard Berntsen - Fine Arts
  • Date 1947
  • Place of Origin Falls Church, Vrigina
  • Creator Bernhard Berntsen

The artist wrote about this painting, “I left home in 1920. My first trip back was after 27 years away. When we went out for an evening visit near Harestuen Lake outside Oslo on a cold winter evening, my father and mother were going to show me the way to the small house where I was going to sleep. Mother had a candle in a little lantern. A moment I can never forget.

Berntsen was born in Oslo in 1900. He worked as a galley boy on the S.S. Bergensfjord, signing off in New York City in 1919. He moved to Chicago and became involved with many of the city’s Norwegian-American organizations. Through these clubs, he dabbled in the arts. His profession was building scaffolding around skyscrapers to facilitate construction or repairs. In 1928 he moved to Brooklyn to join the Chrysler Building scaffolding crew.

Berntsen often sketched coworkers, or people that he saw on the street during his lunch break. He won a scholarship to study at the Art Students’ League and took evening classes from John Stuart Curry. Throughout his lifetime, Berntsen participated in many solo and group exhibitions, including a show in his hometown of Oslo in 1984. Berntsen died in 1992.

Vesterheim has more than 150 artworks by Bernhard Berntsen, mostly oil paintings and crayon drawings on newspaper.

  • Materials Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions height, 20 inches; width, 16 inches
  • Identifier / Source 1984.056.006 - Museum Purchase
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