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The Art of Ethel Kvalheim cover photo

The Art of Ethel Kvalheim 2002

Recommended with reservations

Distributed by Her Own Words, PO Box 5264, Madison WI 53705-0264; 608-271-7083
Produced by Jocelyn Riley
Director n/a
DVD, color, 88 min.

Art, Folk Art

Date Entered: 11/20/2007

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Ethel Kvalheim is a folk artist who specializes in rosemaling, a form of decorative floral painting. In this short film, the artist describes a little of the history and a few of the techniques of the craft. Done primarily on wooden surfaces, rosemaling developed in rural areas of eastern Norway during the mid-1700’s and was brought to the United States with Scandinavian immigrants in the 19th century. Consistently primarily flowers and scrolls, that can be simple or quite intricate, Norwegian rose painting incorporates several different styles, each unique to the area where it was developed. Some pieces are distinguished by the background color used, others by whether the flowers are naturalistic or more fantasy-like, still others by the color or shape of the leaves.

In this film, the artist, a winner of several medals for her work as a rosemaler and teacher of the craft, demonstrates some of the tools and procedures she favors when producing a piece. Narrated entirely by the artist and consisting of still photographs of artifacts, the film records in amazing detail the variety of color and design found in these pieces. Although well made, the film may be of limited interest to most audiences. Recommended for collections with an emphasis in folk art.