Curator: Hilde Mørch
Charlotte Wankel (1888–1969) grew up on Kambo Farm north of Moss and later put her mark on the French cultural scene. She spent the spring of 1910 as a student of Henri Matisse in Paris, and between 1919 and the end of the 1920’s she lived in the art metropolis.
Her non-figurative and abstract art dating to the mid 1920’s represents a radical change in contemporary art in Norway, and abroad. Wankel was one of the artists who contributed to the new idiom and style growing fast in France. Her art was truly part of the “L`Esprit Nouveau” which gave the avantgarde of the 20’s its forceful vitality.
With this exhibition a female, Norwegian artist is given the attention she so badly deserves. The curator, Hilde Mørch and Galleri F 15 exalts an important artist in Norwegian art history. With her local background and international range, it is a welcome revisit to F 15 by an artist who we were proud to exhibit in both a solo show in 1997 and as a part of Momentum 7 in 2013.
The last time Wankel was a part of an exhibition at Galleri F 15 the curator of the biennial, Erlend Hammer stated: “Wankel is without doubt the most impactful artist born in Moss. Her name may not have been well known, but that may be because she, like many of her female colleagues of that time, got little recognition.”
When Wankel debuted at The Fall Exhibition in 1914 she was praised by art critics and the feared Jappe Nilssen wrote “we have something to look forward to in the future from her hand”. Later, several of her exhibitions were badly portrayed in the press. Neither the public, nor the art world understood cubism.
During the German occupation, Wankel showed works at The Retrospective Exhibit of Sculpture and Painting (1940) and Art and Non-art (1942) at the National Gallery in Oslo. In the latter her paintings were shown as a warning in the Non-art part of the exhibition. During the 1950’s and -60’s her artistic style reached new heights, moving between nonfigurative compositions and more abstract paintings.