Sogn og Fjordane Art Museum

Rolv Muri. I paint with dirt under my fingernails.

Time of event to
Stad Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum

Rolv Muri (1921-1992) is one of the greatest modernist painters from this region. The exhibition includes an extensive selection of his work through 50 years.

I view things abstractly. My whole approach is abstract. When I work the land, I record abstracted images of nature to memory. I am not one of those people who experience nature and construct abstractions afterwards. The way I paint is how I see it.

- Rolv Muri, Sunnmørsposten 27.8.1976

Throughout his career, the Nordfjord native’s life was a balancing act between farming and visual art. The summers involved hard physical labour on the small and steep family farm at Auflem in Olden. In the evenings, and during the winter months, the essence of the nature impressions collected by Muri made their way onto brightly coloured canvases. Muri did not simply reproduce what he saw, but created new landscapes. In this exhibition, the public is invited to get close and personal with his abstract expressionism and experience the moods depicted in these large expressive paintings. The combination of vibrant colours, shapes, lines and surfaces invites free association and offer a fresh perspective on nature.

One should not understand art. Art needs to appeal to our emotions. Picasso always spoke of truth. I agree with that. What we create needs to be real. I extract the essence of my nature experiences.

- Rolv Muri, Sunnmørsposten, 17/12/1988

The county gallery in Sogn og Fjordane’s retrospective Muri exhibition in 1991 was his first solo exhibition in a museum context. Now the museum wishes to highlight this great and rich body of work for new generations and visitors.

Sogn og Fjordane Art Museum extends its gratitude to Ove Eide, private lenders and Sparebankstiftinga Sogn og Fjordane for supporting the exhibition.

Rolv Muri, "Høstfjellet 2", oil on board, 1978-1979, private collection.
Muri køyrer traktor med høy, utsikt mot fjord og fjell i bakgrunnen.
Rolv Muri on his farm Auflem in Olden. Photo: Leif Høel, Dagbladet, 30. juli 1966
Rolv Muri, "Høstallegori", oil on board, 1976, private collection.
Rolv Lorentz Muri

b. 1921 – d. 1992

Born in Ålesund and grew up in Gjøvik. During the Second World War, he lived with his uncle Andreas at Auflem in Olden, in order to evade forced Nazi labour. Studied at the Norwegian Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo from 1946-1948. After further training, Muri married the Danish artist Helga Brøchner-Kristiansen, whom he had met in Copenhagen in 1946. They took over the family farm at Auflem, where they raised cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and horses, as well as growing fruit.


Throughout the 1960s, Muri represented his home country in two major official Norwegian exhibitions abroad. He was included in the Vestland Exhibition thirteen times, and at the Autumn Exhibition five times. He was also awarded a three-year working stipend. This allowed him to prepare for his first solo exhibition in 1969 – 25 years after his first exhibition. In addition, some of his work was bought by the National Gallery. In 1977, Muri was one of the first artists to be granted a guaranteed working income by the government.

Modernism - A wave of experimental styles that influenced Norwegian art following the Second World War. It represents a departure from the preoccupation with what images depicted, rather focusing on how they were created. Modernism in the visual arts is characterised by a high degree of experimentation with formal aspects such as colours, lines, texture and composition. Abstract art and expressionism are both modernist styles.

Abstract art - To abstract means to simplify and remove elements to such a degree that only a few essential and recognisable features from reality remain. It involves combinations of strong colours, shapes, lines and surfaces.

Expressionism - An art direction in which the artist sought to express his subjective reactions to reality. The colours are usually strong, pure and unmixed, serving independent and expressive functions.