Det karriges vesen

1963, 88x140cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Blå sjøutsikt

1997, 146x353, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

The Finnish Norwegian artist Irma Salo Jæger (b.1928) has been a prominent figure in the Norwegian art world since the 1960s; by virtue of her strong political activism for the welfare of artists, and not least, through her own significant oeuvre.

With unwavering persistence throughout her entire career, Irma Salo Jæger has worked with the formal aspects of painting where very little is left to chance. The pictorial structure, composition and palette are meticulously toned and modified. Seen in retrospect, one can sense that she has developed through several phases; from the lyrical, melancholic works based on natural elements of the 1960s, to a bold neo-expressionist painting from the end of the decade and through the 70s, and on to a classical and more restrained idiom during the 80s and 90s, which she has since developed further. Her pictures have an assertive and uncompromising character; here you will find no facile scattering of paint on the canvas, no superficial ornamentation, but pictures that have seemingly forced their way into being. Pictures that had to be created perforce.

The triptych Blue Seaview (1998) is characteristic of Irma Salo Jæger’s mature, serene style of painting. The picture has a radically abstract expression and a motif that is not immediately recognisable, yet the title suggests that it has to do with a transformed mental impression; the sea, sun, sky, horizon and a sailboat are all dimly perceived.

Irma Salo Jæger was educated at The National College of Art and Design (1954–57) and The National Academy of Fine Arts (1958–61), and in addition has a PhD in Art History from the University of Helsinki. During the years 198–1992 she was a professor at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo. Salo Jæger has executed a number of commissioned works in public places and is also represented in numerous Norwegian and international, private and public art collections. The DNB Savings Bank Foundation has 12 of her works in its collection and her entire oeuvre is represented, from the early 60s to her current production.


Til en morgen

1977, 120x140cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Stilleben med fisk

1959, 61x46cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Når leken er best

1967, 200x200cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Local Contrast

Oil on canvas, 1965, 70x87cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

A brightening towards blue, one version

Oil on canvas, 2007, 162cmx132cm

Irma Salo Jæger (b.1928) was born in Finland but moved to Norway in 1954 and has since been a prominent figure in Norwegian art. Together with Jacob Weidemann, Knut Rumohr, Inger Sitter and Gunnar S. Gundersen, among others, she belongs to the generation of artists who represented the breakthrough of abstract painting in Norway during the 1950s and 60s. Her art stems from the European modernist tradition and she has worked in an abstract idiom throughout her career.  

In the pictures from the 60s there is a clear reference to nature; the colours are harmoniously modulated and blended with each other. Towards the end of the decade she moved away from a heavy, textural and lyrical style to a more powerful and expressive one, with bold brushstrokes and large formats. In the later works from the 80s and 90s Salo Jæger turned to a more stringent and controlled form of expression that she has since refined and developed. The painting A brightening towards blue, one version is a characteristic example of her mature, serene painting style. The structure and composition of the painting has become more constructive and classical, and the palette concentrated around luminous colours of the spectrum. Transparent layers of paint are interspersed with opaque areas of colour creating a pulsating, atmospheric effect that, despite the picture’s surface character, opens up for depth and spaciousness. 

On the whole, Irma Salo Jæger’s considerable and multi-faceted production can be seen as variations on the same fundamental theme; she devotes herself consistently to the formal means of painting and investigates how lines, shapes and colour relate to each other as two-dimensional pictorial surface and pulsating space. 


Før avreise

Collage, 1993, 60x50cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Sent i august

Oil on canvas, 1991, 146x118cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Det fjernes betydning må også verdsettes behørig

Oil on canvas, 1967, 200x250cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum

Irma Salo Jæger (f.1928) was born in Finland, but moved to Norway in 1954, when she married the Norwegian scientist Tycho Jæger. Since then she has lived in Norway and made a name for herself as one of our most prominent and important visual artists.

Together with Jacob Weidemann, Gunnar S. and Inger Sitter, among others, she contributed to breaking down resistance to abstract painting in the Norwegian art milieu during the 1950s and 60s. Salo Jæger earned a PhD in art history from the University of Helsinki in 1953, and after she came to Norway she studied at the National College of Art and Design from 1954 to 57, and at the National Academy of Fine Arts from 1958 to 61.

Her real breakthrough on the Norwegian art scene came with a solo exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus in 1968, where she among many other works showed the monumental The Significance of the Remote Must Also be Duly Appreciated. What is characteristic of the pictures from the early 60s is a tactile and lyrical naturalism, in which the colours are balanced and harmonised in relationship to each other. In this sense, the works in the exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus marked a new direction in Salo Jæger’s oeuvre. In these works she progresses towards a more forceful and expressive painting style, with large formats and a gesticulating and neo-expressionist idiom.




Oil on canvas, 1961, 130x165cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum


Oil on canvas, 1959, 65x52cm, Haugar Vestfold Kunstmuseum