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Aksel Waldemar Johannessen
The story of Aksel Waldemar Johannessen is an exciting tale of the rediscovery of a great expressionist painter who lived in Kristiania (now Oslo) between 1880 and 1922.
The philanthropist and art collector Haakon Mehren (born Oslo 1938) must take credit for having rediscovered the artist. Quite by chance, he came across some of Johannessenís works in a store room. The paintings were so far removed from the rather eclectic tradition of Matisse prevalent in Norway at the time, that he was immediately fascinated by them. To his great surprise, Mehren was unable to find any relevant information on the artist from published sources. Even in the various institutes of art history, Johannessen seemed virtually unknown.
During the next two years, Mr Mehren conducted his thorough detective work on the artist, traveling extensively and searching through archives. Through his research, the pieces of the artist's life have come together, forming a complex picture of great artistic and historic significance even beyond Norway.
Mehren managed to trace the artistís daughter, Solveig Johannessen Schirmer, as well as the old family maid and later house assistant, Maja Johnsen, who at the age of 94 was extremely fit and turned out to have an exceptionally good memory. Drawn together, and through their vivid reminiscences, these two women have been invaluable sources of information.

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