From left: Talette Rørvik Simonsen, Eva Düllo, director of the National Museum Ingrid Røynesdal and PhD fellow Adine Lexow
Photo: Nasjonalmuseet / Ina Wesenberg

The National Museum and the University of Oslo are joining forces on a new doctoral project about the textile artist Frida Hansen, financed through the museum’s collaboration agreement with the Fredriksen Family Art Company.

Frida Hansen (1855–1931) was a pioneer in Norwegian and European textile art and a major force behind the Norwegian weaving renaissance of the 1890s. She is also celebrated for having developed the “transparency technique”, which involves an alternation between dense and translucent areas in a tapestry.

New perspectives

Frida Hansen, "Røde roser" (detail), 1900
Photo: Nasjonalmuseet / Frode Larsen

Hansen is well represented in the National Museum’s collection, and over the next few years her art will be the subject of research under a newly established doctoral scholarship awarded to art historian Adine Lexow. In her doctoral project “Frida Hansen: Weaver, Gardener, Artist, Woman”, Lexow will explore how Frida Hansen’s intense fascination with flowers and dedicated work with gardens influenced her art nouveau-inspired designs and her weaving practice.

Combining theories from art history, philosophy, gender studies, and the new field of environmental humanities, Lexow will consider Hansen’s art in connection with the emergence in the late 19th century of a distinct gardening culture among women that gave its adherents a sense of identity and liberation. Her research will expand and update our knowledge, not just about Hansen, but also about the field of textile art as a whole. The project is an important element in the museum’s focus on women artists, architects, and designers, formally adopted in the National Museum’s latest Research and Development Strategy. It will also contribute to scholarship that attracts international attention to the collection.

About the scholarship holder:

Adine Ødegård Lexow (b. 12.07.1994) completed her master’s degree on the transparent tapestries of textile artist Frida Hansen, considered in the light of contemporary art, gender theory, and ecocritical theory, at the University of Oslo, spring 2022. She has worked as a freelance writer for Oslo municipality’s art collection and accepted project management responsibilities for exhibitions at, and the day-to-day running of, the gallery for the Queen Sonja Print Awards (QSPA) foundation.

The National Museum’s mandate is to develop, conserve, research, make available and promote public knowledge about Norway’s biggest collection of art, architecture and design. Research is a key element in this mission. The museum conducts independent research, primarily in the fields of art history, conservation, education, and museology.

PhD collaboration:

  • The National Museum has agreed a doctorate-level collaboration with the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Oslo, involving four PhD fellows.
  • The aim of the agreement is to strengthen the institutions’ research environments and to further develop scholarly contacts between these knowledge communities.
  • The scholarship recipients will follow the Faculty’s PhD programme.
  • The research grants are financed through the museum’s collaboration agreement with the Fredriksen Family Art Company (FFAC).
  • The first scholarship officially begins in January 2024. Subsequent scholarships will be announced in 2024, 2026, and 2027.
  • The National Museum is solely and independently responsible for announcements relating to the PhD scholarships and the awarding of the research scholarships.
  • The National Museum adheres to the principle of honouring the independence of research. It is fundamental to all the National Museum’s collaborations that the individual researcher is able to work autonomously, without interference in the choice of methods, results, or forms of dissemination.