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Norwegian artist honoured by Northumbria University

2nd December 2014

Northumbria University, Newcastle has today cemented its relationship with one of Scandinavia’s most distinguished landscape artists by awarding an honorary degree to celebrated artist, Ørnulf Opdahl.

Drawing inspiration from the dramatic Norwegian landscape, Ørnulf’s works can be found hanging in many public and private collections around the world - with royalty counted among some of his most enthusiastic patrons. His paintings have been the subject of two exhibitions at Northumbria University’s galleries – both in London and, most recently, earlier this summer in Newcastle.

Born in 1944 in Norway’s biggest fishing town, Ålesund, Ørnulf’s father worked in the family fishing business – as had his father before him.

Ørnulf began to develop his interest in art when aged about 12 years old. At 15, he attended a craft school in painting before moving to Norway’s capital, Oslo, to study at the Academy of the Arts. He settled in Oslo for several years, but the lure of the landscape with the mountains, the sea and the fjords was so strong that in 1971, he moved his family to Godøy, near to Ålesund.

The 1970s saw Ørnulf establish a reputation as one of the leading painters of his generation with regular exhibitions in Oslo.

He was appointed professor at the Norwegian National Academy of Fine Arts from 1985 until 1992 and continues to teach there as a visiting professor.  He is also an advisor to the Norwegian Royal Palace and has been extensively involved in activities, which have promoted the fine arts, young artists and cultural heritage over many years.

The recipients of honorary degrees are nominated by the University’s staff for their achievements, their links to the University – and for their sheer inspirational qualities.

Ørnulf Opdahl received his degree as Honorary Doctor of Civil Law during a ceremony today, alongside students graduating from Arts, Design and Social Sciences programmes.  

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