Minneutstilling efter en ukjent maler,
Aksel Johannessen

Dagbladet 17/1 1923
Av Jappe Nilssen
The name of Aksel Johannessen was not entirely new to me. I had already heard it mentioned some years ago by Fernanda Nissen, who was deeply impressed by this artist and had become interested in his work. After the death of Mrs Nissen, Hulda Garborg wrote to me asking me to pay a visit to Aksel Waldemar and, if at all possible, to help him. At that time Johannessen lived at the end of Rosenkrantzgate, not far from Tordenskjold Square, in a block of flats with steep stairs and narrow, dingy corridors. It was certainly an extremely uncomfortable and dirty place in which to live. I attempted to meet him on a number of occasions, but without success. In the corridor in which he lived I knocked on all the doors and tried to open them, but they were all locked. Some little girls who I met at the entrance told me that it would be impossible to find him because he was never at home. But the following day I went back there. Once again I knocked on three or four doors, again unsuccessfully, until I reached the last door, through which I could hear some noises and brief commands. After knocking, I opened the door and entered the room, which was fairly large. The light entered through two windows and a slanting ray of sunlight bathed a large bed; on this a man lay on his back, stark naked, with his legs in the air. Curled up at his feet was a small child who was then thrown into the air with incredible adroitness. My presence did not induce the acrobat to change position; indeed, he continued with his morning gymnastics, but only guttural cries issued from his mouth, and these seemed to express anything but a warm welcome. Hence I decided to make myself scarce forthwith. Before shutting the door I observed how the acrobat gave the child a push with his toes as if to send him away, thrusting him half a meter into the air, only to catch him once again with the soles of his feet. This scene made quite an impression on me: this was a man who knew how to amuse his children! Probably he was an acrobat in a circus or vaudeville who kept his door unlocked when he was doing his exercises. However, I saw neither Johannessen nor his paintings.

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