The oeuvre of the Norwegian artist Eva Bull Holte (1922–1993) is deeply rooted in Norwegian and Modernist movements of the 20th century. Foremost a painter, Bull Holte worked within multiple media, including drawings, prints and ceramics.
Eva Bull Holte began her artistic education during World War II, originally training to become a potter. For a period, Bull Holte also studied with Per Krohg at the Arts and Crafts School, before attending the National Art Academy after the war as a student of Jean Heiberg. Both Krohg and Heiberg were painters who themselves had been pupils of Henri Matisse and brought the ideals of l’école de Paris to Norway. Later, Bull Holte studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1951–55), and also travelled widely in Europe.
Bull Holte’s early paintings reflect impulses from French Post-Impressionism and early Modernism, in particular the theories of Matisse and her own idol, Paul Cézanne. Many of her motifs are inspired by sojourns especially in France and Italy, but also in Spain, England and Denmark. The artist found her ‘Paradise on earth’ in Åmotsdal in Western Telemark (Norway); a landscape depicted in many of her paintings.
In her lifetime, Bull Holte was an artist held in high regard, who exhibited frequently in leading galleries and art institutions in Norway and received positive reviews by the critics. Also, her works were acquired for Norwegian and international museums and collections, including the National Gallery, Oslo; Bergen Art Museum (today KODE); Collection Leon Hess, NYC; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. and others. After her death in 1993, her husband, the Eva Bull Holte Museum was founded in Åmotsdal by her husband, the industrialist Johan B. Holte. A monograph on the artist, authored by Arnstein Arneberg, was published in 1994. Nevertheless, like many other women artists of the late Modernist generation, Bull Holte has largely been ignored or marginalized by posterity.
This monographic exhibition is a joint venture between Haugar Art Museum and Nordic Institute of Art, and will include some 50 works. This is the result of long-term project within the Institute focusing on the artist, initiated in collaboration with Eva Bull Holte’s foundation. Occasioned by this summer’s exhibition, a publication placing Eva Bull Holte in a wider context of Modernist and contemporary women artists will be brought out by Uten Tittel in association with Haugar and Nordic Institute of Art.