What: Hamsun bust

Where: Kjerringøy Gamle Handelssted, 8093 Kjerringøy, Norway.

Here it is: From Bodø you drive north on road 834. From Festvåg a short but beautiful ferryride takes you to Misten and Kjerringøy, where you after a few kilometers will see this idyllic old trading post, today a popular recreational area.

Here Knut Hamsun arrived on April 24th 1879, to ask the powerful merchant Erasmus Benedigt Kjerschow Zahl for "merciful allowance" to become a writer and travel to Copenhagen. Hamsun ends his letter of introduction to Zahl like this: "Now, as a 20 years old man without means, I am without resources to undertake such a voyage and thus I beg you Mr.Zahl, presumably the giant of North-Norway in economic importance, in the name of art and progress, for a merciful allowance of 1600.00 - sixteen hundred Kroner." Hamsun got his 1600 NOK, a small fortune in these days against security in a life-insurance. His spendings must have been quite unique, as Hamsun on November 23rd 1879 receives another 400 NOK from Zahl.

The bust at Kjerringøy, which was disclosed by Tore Hamsun in 1984, is made by Thore Bjørn Skjølsvik, a sculpturer, artist and painter, born in Tvedestrand in 1939 and now living in Oslo. Skjølsvik studied at Statens Håndverk- og Kunstindustriskole in 1958-59 and at Central School of Arts and Crafts in London in 1960. He was a student of the painter Schøenfeldt in 1962. Student of professor Per Palle Storm, Statens Kunstakademi in 1963-66. He has been scientific assistant at Institutt for form og farge, Arkitektavdelingen at Norges Tekniske Høyskole 1968 -72. In 1986 and 1987 Tore Bjørn Skjølsvik sat in the jury of the Høstutstillingen, Skulptur. Works by Tore Bjørn Skjølsvik are displayed at Nationalgalleriet, Oslo and Trondheims faste galleri. The Utenriksdepartementet has bought a sculpture, which today is displayed in the norwegian embassy in Rome. Many thanks to May Beate Jensen for info on the artist.

© Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen www.hamsun.at