“Welcome, I Am Agnes Rykken” Conversations with Vesterheim’s First Gold Medalist in Rosemaling from Vesterheim, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2008

In August, 1979, Dean Madden (1921-2010) traveled to Seattle, Washington, to interview Agnes Rykken (1901-1991), Vesterheim Museum’s first Gold Medalist in rosemaling (Norway’s decorative painting). This is an edited transcript from that historically significant interview, which gives insight into Rykken’s artistry and the history of rosemaling in Norway and America.

Vesterheim’s National Norwegian-American Folk Art Exhibition celebrates the past, present, and future of folk art by encouraging and inspiring emerging and established folk artists to develop their craft. The exhibition started with a rosemaling category in 1967. Weaving and woodworking were added in 1982 and knifemaking in 1994. Metalworking is the newest category, added in 2018. Experts in each field offer feedback to artists and award ribbon points to the very best pieces in the exhibition, which accumulate to a Vesterheim Gold Medal. Biographies in the form of Artist Statements, as well as pictures of artwork can be found on the Vesterheim Gold Medalist online portfolio here.

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Vesterheim 1968.040.001, Rosemaling by Agnes Rykken