Because I’ve written about Frida Hansen, people want to tell me more; it’s such a privilege. I received an interesting email from Therese Solbakken in Norway; she owns a pair of transparencies woven by a student of Frida Hansen, Julie (Jullik) Gulbrandsen (1876-1950). Here’s a detail showing the pattern of birds and circles and thick tendrils.
In the photo below, she shows one panel beside the other. The weaving is equally beautiful from both sides, but you can see that one side has been a bit faded by the sun, which makes perfect sense for curtain panels.
Portieres designed by Frida Hansen and students like Jullik Gulbrandsen were very long, and the owners would fold them over and hang them to the height needed for their spaces. These panels are 224 cm long by 70 cm wide (88″ x 27.5″). This photo shows the ends.
Let’s look at that charming bird again.
Anniken Thue, Frida Hansen’s biographer, wrote a bit about Julie (Jullik) Gulbrandsen in a 1991 exhibition catalog, Frida Hansen og de Andre…Transparente Portiere 1897-1930 (Frida Hansen and the Others…Transparent Portieres 1897-1930). Gulbrandsen was Frida Hansen’s student and worked in Hansen’s studio, Det Norske Billedvæveri, from 1897-1904. She became a textile consultant and designer for Den Norske Husfliden (the Norwegian Handcraft Association), and wove in the Husfliden studio. Notably, in 1914 she wove “Englekor” (Angel Chorus) designed by Oluf Wold-Torne, owned by the Nasjonalmuseet in Oslo. This tapestry is in billedvev, not transparent technique. She also wove her own patterns, and a number of them have been preserved.
Therese is interested in selling her Gulbrandsen portieres, and is open for bids. She is considering putting the curtains up for auction; Bukowskis Auction House in Stockholm valued the two curtains at 12.-15.000 Swedish kroner (about $1,244 to $1,555). If you are interested in making an offer, or would like more information, or know of a museum that might be interested, let me know and I will give you her contact information.
She noted that there are a pair of similar pieces in the Nationalmuseet in Oslo, shown below. (See the full record here.) They were woven between 1910 and 1930, and purchased for the Design collection of the Nasjonalmuseet in 1991. They vary slightly from the panels owned by Therese Solbakken; the color palette is different, and the Nasjonalmuseet panels have additional narrow borders.
Here is another set of portieres by Julie (Jullik) Gulbrandsen owned by the Nasjonalmuseet. They were produced between 1910 and 1930. (Full record here.) The roses strongly resemble Frida Hansen roses, and with the vase, this piece reminds me of Hansen’s “Hoisommer” (High Summer), described in this post.
Here is another piece in the collection presumed to be a design of Jullik Gulbrandsen, and produced by Nini Stoltenberg. (Full record here.) It is dated from the 1910s, and was a gift to the museum in 1988. Technically, it’s interesting to see how the fringes were braided into loops for hanging.
All of the Gulbrandsen transparencies shown here include birds, as will my next piece. Look for a green head on mine–a Minnesota wood duck.