Norwegian painter and scientist  (b.15 Oct. 1910 Kristiania (Oslo), d.24 July 1977 Larvik)  Arnestad Bjærke was born into a family with strong interests in art and music. Educated at the Norwegian Academy  of Art, Oslo 1928-32. Instrumental in pioneering abstract painting in Norway in the early 1930s. Participated in the  Autumn Exhibitions in Oslo 1932-36. Was rejected by a conservative jury in 1937 and soon after withdrew from  Oslo’s art scene and settled in Kaupang, Larvik, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. Planned first solo  exhibition in 1940 was cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II. The exhibition was opened at  Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo, after the war in 1945. He had close ties with the artists later forming the COBRA group and  participated in exhibitions in Copenhagen 1945-47. Further solo exhibitions in Larvik (1947), Bergen (1947),  Odense  (1962), Sandefjord (1962), Oslo (1963), Würzburg (1969), Wiesbaden (1969), and Frankfurt (1969).  He took many of his motifs from the old Nordic poetry and sagas. In addition local scenery and people formed a  figurative basis for his abstract pictures. In Bjærke’s paintings one can clearly detect influences from European  avantgarde movements, especially Cubism, Expressionism, and Abstract Surrealism. However, what makes his work  distinctive and original is his use of rhythmic organic line and shape, creating a framework for the application of his  uniqe composition and colour theories. He also made a number of excellent portraits.  He carried out local geological mapping and worked out a new theory on continental drift which was finished in 1970  (go to  Arnestad Bjærke was a competent musician playing several instruments.  His talents in figurative drawing in combination with an analytical attitude resulted in the creation of a strongly  personal style that had no followers.  In spite of the obvious originality and quality of his production he never received any wide recognition.  Tor Bjærke, 2012 © Bjærke Estate 2011 Paintings and drawings