Bel Air artist earns white ribbon at Verterheim Museum

Work by Lise Lorentzen, of Bel Air, won a white ribbon in the “National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition” at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

Lise Lorentzen, of Bel Air, won a white ribbon in the "National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition" at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

The exhibition is Vesterheim's major summer show and was held June 11 to July 27. The awards were announced in conjunction with Decorah's Nordic Fest celebration July 25 to 27.


Lorentzen won the white ribbon in rosemaling for a lap desk painted in the Hallingdal-style. Most rosemalers paint in a style specific to one of the different areas of Norway, and each style has very distinct characteristics.

"Rosemaling developed in Norway about 200 years ago, and was revived by Norwegian Americans in about 1930," Vesterheim Curator Laurann Gilbertson said. "It continues to be one of the most popular and refined of the Norwegian arts and crafts in this country."


The exhibition also includes woodworking, weaving and knifemaking. Vesterheim, which has some of the most outstanding examples of decorative and folk art in the country, established the rosemaling exhibition at the first Decorah Nordic Fest in 1967 and added weaving, woodworking and knifemaking in later years.

"Some of the best practitioners of these traditional Norwegian arts enter the exhibition, which attracts national attention," Gilbertson said. "This year's exhibition included over 150 pieces of beautiful contemporary folk art."

Each year, judges award blue, red and white ribbons representing points that accumulate over successive exhibitions toward a Vesterheim Gold Medal. Judges also present honorable mention awards and best of show awards.

Judges this year for rosemaling were David Kamm, assistant professor of art and art gallery coordinator at Luther College from Decorah, Iowa; Irene Lamont, Vesterheim Gold Medal Rosemaler from Eau Claire, Wisc.; and Nancy Schmidt, Gold Medal Rosemaler from Waukesha, Wisc.

Vesterheim is a national treasure that explores the diversity of American immigration through the lens of Norwegian-American experience. The museum showcases the best in historic and contemporary Norwegian folk and fine arts and preserves living traditions through exhibitions and educational experiences. For complete schedules of events, exhibitions and classes, and more information about ways to donate, check out Vesterheim online at