Knut Ljøgodt holds a postgraduate degree (Cand.Philol.) in art history from the University of Oslo and a Dr.Philos. degree from the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway. He has also studied at The Courtauld Institute in London, and The Norwegian Institute in Rome. Dr. Ljøgodt is a leading scholar on 19th century Nordic and European painting, particularly Romantic landscape painting and history painting, as well as Symbolism and British Pre-Raphaelites. His monograph Historien fremstilt i bilder (2011) is the first major study on Scandinavian history painting, which also was the topic of his doctorate dissertation. Other fields of interest and research are the history of art collections and collecting, Arctic art, institutional development and, museology.
Dr. Ljøgodt was director of the Northern Norway Art Museum 2008–16, where he had previously been Chief Curator from 2003. Here, he devoted considerable efforts to building the collection and the institution and establishing international collaborations. In addition, he was responsible for a great number of exhibitions and publications on both historical and contemporary art, such as Wild Nature: Swiss and Norwegian Romanticism (2007–08), Black Romanticism: Gothic Horror and Decadence (2009), A. K. Dolven: Ahead (2009), History Depicted (2011–12), Moonlight Romantic: Knud Baade (2012), David Hockney: The Northern Landscapes (2012), Olav Christopher Jenssen: The Donation (2014), Peder Balke (2014–15) in collaboration with The National Gallery of London, Joan Jonas: Glacier (2015), and From Dahl to Munch: Nordic Painting from the Canica Art Collection (2015). As a curator in the Department of Paintings and Sculpture of the National Gallery of Norway (1998–2002), he worked on several important projects, and was curator of a memorial exhibition on Halfdan Egedius (1999), and co-curator of a major show on the Munich school in Norwegian painting (2002).
Apart from his work on the 19th century, Knut Ljøgodt has also taken an interest in exploring the lesser known aspects of Norwegian modernism and its connections to international tendencies, and initiated a series of exhibition projects such as Iver Jåks: Reconstructed (2010), Parallels: Jan Groth and his circle (2011), and Inger Johanne Grytting: Extensions (2015). He is editor and co-author of a monograph on Kjell Varvin which will be published in 2018.
In 2015, Kunsthall Svalbard was established as a satellite of the Northern Norway Art Museum in the Arctic territory of Spitzbergen, on the initiative of Knut Ljøgodt. The project was funded by the Norwegian government and marked the increasing international importance of the Arctic regions. Attracting more than 40 000 visitors during its first year of operation, Kunsthall Svalbard proved that cultural tourism has a real potential in the circumpolar region.
In 2016 the Norwegian Government appointed Dr. Ljøgodt as a Trustee of the Board of the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Stiftelsen Norsk Folkemuseum). He is currently also a trustee of Kunsthall Trondheim, Bogstad Manor, and Nordic Association for Romantic Studies, as well as a member of the editorial board of Romantik: Journal for the Study of Romanticisms.
Knut Ljøgodt is Founding Director of Nordic Institute of Art.