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Rådhushallen (the grand function room)

The decoration in Rådhushallen, the grand function room, is an eminent example of the joint artistry of Alf Rolfsen and Henrik Sørensen.

“..from the drifting nets in the West to the Eastern forests”

Alf Rolfsen's 265 square meter fresco above the grand function room entrance depicts Norwegian industry “..from the drifting nets in the West to the Eastern forests”. Representatives from Norwegian industry are flanked on the left by Fridtjof Nansen, who symbolizes the nation`s outward exploration. On the right, the 4.5 meters portrait of the writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson represents spiritual expansion within.

“Occupation Frieze” on the east wall

The length of the east wall features the “Occupation Frieze”, for which Alf Rolfsen drew on his own experiences.

On the left, we see men of resistance taking to the forests, while women stand, exchanging news. A plane flies in and a ship is sunk. Representatives of the dictatorship enter a room in which the mother`s horror and the young boy`s anger are conveyed. Outside we find the occupying forces and their supporters destroying the country.

On the right of the Gestapo's Victoria Terrasse, viewed through ruins, resistance fighters Wickstrøm and Hansteen are stood against the execution wall. The basements conceal resistance cells, and partisans are set against the morning sky. In front of them is a concentration camp, where the gates are opened one day and the prisoners stream towards the light. Peace celebrations now gather pace and a 17th of May, National Day, procession surges forward into “a future we cannot see”.

Work, Administration and Celebration

Henrik Sørensen´s painting on the south wall catches your eye when you enter the hall. This is the largest oil painting in the country — that depict everything from Oslo and Norway between the two world wars and during Nazi occupation, to Norse mythology, to everyday life and the growth of the city’s commercial activity.

The side walls in the hall are largely decorated with patterns using the al secco technique, but also with two pictures sections. High up on the east wall, King Haakon VII is seen in portrait. The west wall bears a free artistic rendering of the motif in the city arms.