ANDERS SVOR (1864-1929)
Sculptor Anders Svor was born in Hornindal on 14 December 1864. For generations, both the maternal and his paternal sides of his family had featured skilled fiddlers, singers and smiths. Anders himself was regarded as an excellent wood carver when he was as young as 12 years old. At the age of 17 he was hired as a wood carver at the Brødrene Hals piano factory in Kristiania (later Oslo), while at the same time he was studying at the Royal Academy of Drawing. From 1886 to 1888 he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts under professor Theobald Stein, among others. He remained in Copenhagen until 1892, studying under Stephan Sinding and Vilhelm Bissen. In 1891 he had his artistic breakthrough when he won the gold medal at an international art exhibition in Berlin for his statue David. He participated in exhibitions in Kristiania, Copenhagen, Brighton and Chicago as well as in the world’s fairs in Paris and Rio de Janeiro. After leaving Copenhagen he lived in his home village for a short period before once again moving to Kristiania in 1893. During a stay in Paris in 1894-95, financed by a travel grant, Svor became fascinated by Auguste Rodin’s work, and Svor’s sculpture Adam og Eva (Adam and Eve) bears witness to the inspiration he drew from Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker. When he left Paris he settled in Kristiania permanently. He lived and worked there, interrupted by a few periods when he worked on the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, until he died on 2 May 1929 at the age of 64.
Anders Svor’s style was naturalistic and neo-romantic. He lived in a period when there was little work for sculptors, and there were long gaps between major commissions. It could also not be denied that the fame of Gustav Vigeland cast a longer shadow over other contemporary sculptors than they perhaps deserved. Nevertheless, several of Anders Svor’s most well-known works did find a place in the public sphere. In Oslo the fountain sculpture Bylgja (The Wave) can be seen in Skillebekk Park, Etter Badet (After the Bath) at the Bislett public baths, Ein symjar (A Swimmer) in Kampen Park, and one of Anders Svor’s lions guards the entrance to the Nationaltheatret. He is represented in Porsgrunn with Forliste sjømenn (Shipwrecked Seamen), in Moss with Diskoskasteren (The Discus Thrower) and, not least, in Tønsberg with a large statue of Sven Foyn. Gustav Vigeland is said to have regarded this work as one of Norway’s best portrait statues.
ANDERS SVOR MUSEUM – COLLECTION, GALLERY AND SCULPTURE GARDEN
Anders Svor left behind around 450 sculptures in his studio in Oslo. Most of these were in plaster or clay, and a few in bronze. His heirs agreed that the collection should be returned to Nordfjord. At first the works were stored closely together in an old log cabin at Svor. In 1941 the heirs donated the collection to the municipality of Hornindal on the condition that a fireproof museum was erected. Because of the war and financial constraints building activities did not begin until 1951. The Anders Svor Museum opened on 12 July 1953. The collection comprises around 560 works including sketches and drafts.
The municipality of Hornindal owns the Anders Svor Museum and the collection. Starting in 2004 the museum’s operations have been merged with those of the Sogn og Fjordane Museum of Fine Art, which is responsible for the technical administration of the collection.