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Is Rosemaling Swedish?

In simple terms, no. Rosemaling is a distinctly Norwegian form of folk art. Evolving in rural Norway, rosemaling flourished in the late 1600's through the mid-1800's. The term rosemaling is often mistakenly applied to Swedish decorative paintings, however rosemaling is a Norwegian word to describe Norwegian folk painting. 

Sweden's folk painting goes by various, lesser-known names, such as kurbitsmålning (or kurbits), dalmålning, and bonadsmålning. While the folk arts may appear to be similar, there are distinct differences in style, colors, subject matter, and what it is painted on. Designs can be very different from that of Norwegian rosemaling. This video created by the Swedish immigrant museum, the Gammelgården Museum of Scandia, Minnesota, explains some of the differences.

Rosemaling was brought to the United States by Norwegian immigrants. In the early 1900's, the traditional folk art began being painted in the Midwest where many Norwegians settled. Per Lysne of Stoughton, Wisconsin is credited for beginning the rosemaling revival in the U.S. By the 1960s and into the1990's, Norwegian rosemaling became very popularized in the United States, especially where there were Norwegian-Americans. Because of its mainstream popularity, the term rosemaling is more familiar and incorrectly applied to Swedish folk painting, as well as other Scandinavian and European decorative painting.

For those interested in learning Swedish-style folk painting, look for instructors who are teaching kurbitsmålning (or kurbits), dalmålning, or bonadsmålning.

Go here for more on the History of Rosemaling.

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum has a great resource for: What is Rosemaling.

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