In the remaining time available I briskly walked to the National Gallery and took in a show that featured the work of Munch and Klee. I always wanted to give Munch the benefit of the doubt, but I came away with a clear conviction that he is no artist of any measure. Included in the show was work by Paul Klee and I never really liked his work anymore than I do Mondrian or Picasso. I think the worth of all of these artists are grossly inflated. I do, however, like Tingley.
At any rate, once I came out of the feature salon I went upstairs where there are masterful works by Norwegian artists I have never heard of. You must see Johan Dahl and Christian Krohg. On the walls there also hung paintings by Degas, Monet, and Van Gogh, so though the gallery is small by Boston standards it turns out to be a rather deep collection and worth a visit if ever in the city. The main thing to remember is this: Norway has a stack of artists North Americans have never heard of that are first-rate.
Oslo is a city of sculpture. Great pieces are on public display everywhere. Just this summer I was in Ottawa, Canada, my home city. Just below Parliament Hill, there on the corner, stood a sculpture in tribute to Terry Fox. I made comment to a friend that the figure was terribly disproportionate. The thighs, ankles and feet were far too large. It occurred to me that this kind of work does not honor Terry Fox at all since it is amateur. Surely, Canada must have an artist that can do this right, especially when thousands of dollars worth of taxpayers’ monies are ventured on trying to make the National Capitol a spectacular visit. I have walked the streets of Oslo and can tell you, there are hundreds of sculptures and not one of them unworthy of attention and praise. Ooooppps… there is one. In the middle of St. Olafs Plase stands one rather monstrous contemporary piece that fails to convince me of anything meritorious.