Gudrun at the Door

  • Artist: Henrik Sørensen
  • Creation date: 1917
  • Object type: Painting


An essential aspect of the painting’s composition is the placement of the woman in the doorway, with the door serving as a frame and as a border between what is taking place in front of and behind her. The woman has an introverted expression and seems both present and somewhat distant.

Born in Sweden, Henrik Sørensen became one of the most distinctive artists in Norway before and after the Second World War. He received a large part of his training abroad, including at the Académie Matisse in Paris, and he is often cited as one of the many Nordic students of Matisse. Sørensen painted The Artist’s Wife Gudrun a few years after his stay in Paris, and the painting is a fine example of his more “moderate modernism”.

The portrait has a simple form with clear shades of blue, vertical lines, and a condensed spatial effect. The monumental style is a visual homage to the sitter, the artist’s wife Gudrun Sørensen (née Cleve, 1884−1944). The couple married in 1910 and stayed together until her death in 1944. Gudrun, a trained telegraph operator, is referred to as a beautiful, modern woman, and she was in demand as a model among the Norwegian artists of the era, with not least her husband painting several portraits of her.

Sørensen would over the years create a great number of paintings within a wide variety of genres, including landscapes, religious church decorations, figure-based compositions, and politically motivated works. He also became one of his era’s leading portrait artists in Norway.

Text: Øystein Ustvedt

From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0


Henrik Sørensen


Born 1882 in Fryksände, death 1962 in Oslo

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Gudrun i døren (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Width: 84.3 cm
  • Height: 106 cm
  • Depth: 2 cm
Motif - type:
Purchased 1918
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Høstland, Børre
© Sørensen, Henrik/BONO