Enjoy reading this publication, Norwegian-American Church Art: Altar Paintings by Herbjørn Gausta, Sarah Kirkeberg Raugland, and Arne Berger, presented by Vesterheim in 2001 as a companion to a previous exhibit. 

Three artists who produced altar paintings for Norwegian-American Lutheran churches had connections to northeastern Iowa. 

Sarah Kirkeberg Raugland was born near Elgin, Iowa, to immigrant parents. After spending some of her youth with family in North Dakota, she settled in Minneapolis, where she established her studio. 

Herbjørn Gausta was born in Norway, but his family settled in Harmony, Minnesota, just north of the Iowa border. He attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and was soon sent to Europe to study art. His education was funded by a number of the leading citizens of the Decorah area, including U. V. Koren. Gausta returned to the United States and, like Raugland, worked as a professional artist in Minneapolis. 

Arne Berger was born in Norway, immigrating as a young man to Minneapolis. He spent the early years of his career working in various locations, including a four-year residence in Decorah from 1903 until 1907. Berger eventually returned to Minneapolis in 1917 where he lived for the next three decades. 

Although their careers and connections to the northeastern Iowa area were varied, these three artists were part of the core of painters who supplied art to thousands of churches across the country. This booklet chronicles the tradition of these paintings, explores the lives of these three artists, and highlights representative examples of their work.

Herbjørn Gausta, The Road to Emmaus (after Plockhorst), after 1896. Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum collection. Original setting: Immanuel Lutheran Church, Jewell, Iowa.