Fra museet / From the museum

Gustav Vigeland Piken reinsdyret
Gustav Vigeland, Girl on a reindeer, 1920. Plaster.

Around 1913, a radical change in style occurred in Vigeland's art. His formal language gradually became more simplified, with fewer details and larger surfaces and volume. This change coincided with a radical change also in European sculpture, and it is likely that Vigeland was influenced by these developments. It is known that he bought pictures of Matisse's sculptures, and he expressed an interest in cubism.

The most important reason for these changes is still the fact that Vigeland in this period started to model sculptures only meant to be cut in stone. And, while he earlier had uses soft stones, like marble and soapstone, he now started to cut in granite. Most sculptures from 1913-15 are cut in less than full size.

It is during these years that the first ideas to a monumental park occurred, first in drawings from 1914, and then in a model of the fountain in the park around the Royal Palace (Abelhaugen). This model shows the fountain together with 36 large groups planned in granite. These ideas contributed to the formal changes in Vigeland’s art. Sculptures placed in open air, meant to be seen from a distance, demand a more monumental formal language, like the one we see in the Vigeland Park today

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