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Harbor, Svolvaer, Lofoten

1937 William H. Johnson Born: Florence, South Carolina 1901 Died: Central Islip, New York 1970 oil on burlap 27 x 37 1/4 in. (68.5 x 94.5 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Harmon Foundation 1967.59.893 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 30B

Luce Center Label

In 1937, William H. Johnson and his Danish wife, Holcha, made their way north of the Arctic Circle to the settlement of Svolvaer in Norway’s Lofoten Islands. Thickly applied colors capture strong contrasts of light and shadow and animate the rugged terrain and fishing boats in the harbor. In letters to friends, Holcha called the Lofotens “marvelously beautiful” and wrote that her husband climbed the hills every day to capture the scenery in different light and weather. This canvas shows the twin peaks of the “Svolvaer Goat,” a landmark in the islands that remains famous to this day.


Landscape - mountain

Landscape - Norway - Lofoten

Landscape - Norway - Svolvaer

Waterscape - boat

Waterscape - harbor - Svolvaer Harbor


paint - oil

fabric - burlap

fiberboard - masonite - support added