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Decorah artist Norma Wangsness' work to go on display starting Thursday at Luther

Posted: Wed, Apr 3, 2013 5:35 PM
Norma Wangsness with the portrait plate she presented to the King and Queen of Norway ( archive photo)

Decorah artist Norma Wangsness' rosemaling and portrait paintings will go on display starting Thursday in Preus Library on the Luther College campus.

Wangsness studied drawing and painting at Luther under legendary printmaker Orville Running.  She also studied landscape and fine art portraiture with Maxine Pendry, portrait painting with Daniel Greene, airbrush painting with Sam Bogosian, and rosemaling with Sigmund Aarseth.
In 2011, Wangsness was commissioned by the museum to create a plate in honor of Norway's King Harald V and Queen Sonja's most recent visit to Decorah. She painted a portrait of the Royal Couple and bordered it with rosemaling that matched the pattern of the Queen's bunad. Wangsness speaks of the opportunity to present the gift in person as, "one of the greatest honors and the highlight of my career."

For 25 years, Wangsness and her husband, Willis, operated Wangsness Photography Studio in Decorah, Iowa. Her husband took the photos and she hand-colored them. Wangsness became a regional and national leader in photographic arts standards and education, earning many awards for her work.