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What is Rosemaling?

Rosemaling is a traditional Norwegian Folk Art that flourished during the 18th and 19th centuries in rural Norway. The stylized scrolls and flowers in combination with rustic folk art and woodcarving designs were greatly influenced by Baroque and Rococo styles from other parts of Europe. Styles and techniques varied from region to region. Different styles are named after the region of Norway or the valley (dal) in which they were practiced. The art form came with Norwegian immigrants to places like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa and blossomed out from there. There are still many Norwegian families that teach rosemaling, along with many others who have learned it, loved it and share it.

The most popular styles of rosemaling are Telemark and Rogaland. Telemark is the most distinctive style in Norway. Telemark designs are asymmetrical, based on C-scrolls and S-scrolls filled with stylized flowers and graceful line-work. Colors used are clean and transparent and the outlining of the scrolls and flowers makes Telemark even more outstanding.

Rogaland, a very popular form in America, is symmetrical and precise. It has Oriental, Dutch and German influences using tulips, vases and hearts in many of the designs. This style uses dark colors with usually only three values, making the shading very subtle. Rogaland often has fine detailing such as beading and crosshatching. This style is a mixture of Hallingdal and Telemark.

The Valdres style is distinct in its use of flower forms that actually resemble real flowers. Another popular style, with many painters,Hallingdal uses large, bold stylized flowers as the main design element. Quite often figures of people or animals are included. The colors are strong and powerful, very often on a red background. Painting is opaque with wet on wet overlays creating the only shading. The Gudbrandsdal style makes extensive use of the folded over acanthus leaf, again stylized.

Various Rosemaling Styles

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