Nikolai Astrup was born in Bremanger in 1880 and was initially expected to follow his father into the priesthood. However, he set off to Paris, via Germany in 1901-2 and began working as an artist, inspired by near-contemporaries such as Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Maurice Denis (1870-1943), Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Henri Rousseau (1844-1910). Like Rousseau, Astrup was particularly interested in the potential of landscape, and he became known for his boldly-coloured depictions of Jølster, the region where he had grown up. He was also an enthusiastic experimenter in the medium of woodcut and graphic art.
Astrup bought Sandalstrand, later renamed Astruptunet, in 1912 and he lived here from 1913 until his death. During this time he developed the estate, a project that included expanding the studio and landscaping the garden. The estate and the surrounding landscape would become a major focus and inspiration for the art of his final years. It was opened to the public in 1986, and since 2004 has been part of the Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum. The collection includes approximately 250 woodcuts, woodcut blocks, paintings and sketches by Astrup.
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