In 1894, and back in Christiania, his exhibition met with mixed reviews. Artists are seldom appreciated in their own time. Vigeland then traveled learning different styles, from different cultures. It was at this time that he met the famous Norwegian painter, Edvard Munch, who is best known for his masterpiece " The Scream ". Unfortunately when he returned to Norway he was out of money and had to take a job sculpting for a cathedral in Trondheim. Here he made evil monsters and gargoyles as decorations for the church.
In 1900 he married Laura Andersen, and as a matter of course had two children with her. Despite marriage and fatherhood, he continued to travel throughout Europe studying the different styles of various master sculptors. In October of 1901 he came back to Norway for good, and became the most prolific sculptor to come out of Scandinavia.
In 1921 Vigeland signed a contract with the city of Oslo that granted him a salary, and a studio space, provided that all his works went to the city for a museum after his death. This shows you just how much the people of Oslo thought of this great artists work, and how much they wanted to keep his artwork in Norway. Vigeland's studio was next to Frogner Park, and it was here that he built what is known as the Grand Fountain Complex. Within the complex there are 36 granite groupings, and of course what some, (including me), people deem as his finest piece, the column known as, "The Monolith". By the 1930's this area was known as Vigeland Park. From 1924 - 1943 this park dominated his life and his work. This " Park" became not only a monument to his work, but to the great artist himself .
In January, of 1943, Gustav Vigeland became ill with what was described as a heart infection, and he died on March 12, 1943. His death was mourned by the Norwegian people, but they could not express themselves as they wished because of their Nazi occupiers. They were able to fully celebrated his life achievements in 1947 when his museum officially opened to the public.
Gustav Vigeland's sculptures of the nude form are to some controversial, especially for an outdoor park, but I feel the embarrassment that some feel is simply their own narrow minded inhibitions being expressed. These exquisite masterpieces explore the human form in all its beauty and detail. It amazes me sometimes that someone will see these works of art and be offended, but see something from the Greek, or Roman period, and think it the highest form of art. I myself have two small reproductions of his work, and enjoy the style, and beauty, that they add to my home. I would give almost anything to go to Norway, and visit Frogner / Vigeland Park, and his museum, to see what I consider to be world class masterpieces. Unfortunately the current economy, and the fact that Norway is one of the most expensive places to vacation, does not permit this at the moment.
Gustav Vigeland is considered by most to be Norway's greatest sculptor, and he was without a doubt the most prolific of artists. It is estimated that he drew, or sculpted, over 1, 500 items in his amazing career. Gustav Vigeland is a proud addittion to our Scandinavian / Germanic cultural heritage, whose renowned works are not only known throughout Scandinavia, but throughout the world.
" The art of a people is a true mirror to their minds. "
- Jawabarlal Nebru
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !