Benjamin Blessum (Norway/America, 1877-1954) watercolor and gouache on heavy cardstock Norwegian landscape depicting small rowboats moored in a cove next to a small settlement with snow-capped mountains in the background. Molded giltwood frame, appears to be of the period. Signed lower right "Ben Blessum 1904". Written in pencil en verso "At Balestrand Norway Evening __E X X". Sight – 17 3/4" H x 26 1/2" W. Frame – 24 1/4" H x 33 1/8" W. Biography: Benjamin Blessum emigrated with his family to Wisconsin in 1888 from Romsdalen, Norway. At the age of 18 he moved to Chicago IL, where he took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. He found work illustrating for the Chicago Tribune, and soon wrote for Norwegian publications as well. Blessum took multiple trips to Norway after 1903, finding inspiration there as well as a commissions. He painted a piece for the Centennial Exposition in Oslo, and after World War I was commissioned by the Norwegian State Railways to promote tourism by running a poster campaign. Blessum's work has been featured at a number of institutions and exhibitions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Norske Klub Annual Art Exhibit in 1921, and the Norwegian-American exhibit in Norway in 1989. Adapted from the artist's biography listed by the Luther College Fine Arts Collections. Provenance: Private Middle Tennessee collection, by descent from Mr. and Mrs. John and Bessie Murray of Long Island, New York. CONDITION: Painting: Scattered exfoliation, scratches, and abrasions, intermixed with intentionally exposed board surface. Horizontal scratch in center of mountain range with paint loss, 10 1/4" L. Scattered scratches in top left quadrant on water surface, largest 3 1/8" L. Scattered minor flakes to grassy area in lower left quadrant, largest 1/2" L. Minor abrasions in lower right quadrant to rocks and grassy area, largest is center of right edge 1 1/8" L x 1/8" W. Paint is thin in upper right quadrant, sky area. Frame: overpainted with some paint transferred to painting surface near edges. Several overpainted losses and chips on molding. Largest chip to frame 1 1/2" L.
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