1865 Øyvind Andersen

Camilla Collett

In 1902, a competition was announced among Norwegian artists for a memorial to honor Camilla Collett (1813-1895). As early as 1895, the same year she passed away, the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights had begun planning the memorial and raised funds for it.

Camilla Collett is one of the most significant female writers of the 19th century and a pioneer in the women's rights movement several decades before it became an organized movement. In her writings, she shed light on women's position in society, particularly focusing on female experiences as portrayed in literature or within family and societal contexts. She advocated for gender equality and women's rightful place in the public sphere, playing a crucial role in the journey towards women gaining universal suffrage in 1913.

Gustav Vigeland praised Collett's efforts in a letter from 1901, the same year women were granted limited municipal suffrage. He expressed a desire to create a monument for her, acknowledging her tireless and significant contribution to the women's rights movement.

Vigeland wished to execute the monument, but he didn't want to compete. His submission wasn't among the 12 entries for the competition. Instead, he participated in a closed recompetition, presenting two proposals: one depicting a young Collett with a bonnet, and the other portraying an elderly Collett standing in the wind, titled "In Storm." It wasn't until 1908 that the jury agreed to award Vigeland the commission, surprisingly selecting "In Storm."

This monument was unconventional and even groundbreaking. Until the late 19th century, public monuments primarily depicted idealized representations of past heroes. However, Vigeland chose to portray Collett as elderly, standing in the wind with her head bowed. One of Collett's sons, Professor Robert Collett, reacted with displeasure upon seeing the draft in Vigeland's studio in 1908. Vigeland, undeterred, retained the monument as initially envisioned. By portraying Collett as an older woman, tired from the battles she fought, he managed to capture something larger than the individual herself. The sculpture stood as a symbol of the women's rights movement.

A few days after the monument was unveiled in Slottsparken in 1911, Vigeland received a thank-you letter from Collett's second eldest son, Alf Collett, expressing admiration for the sculpture's beauty and poignancy.

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