Thursday, September 27, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 58

Stalheim hotel, near Voss, Hordaland, Norway
[postcard:  courtesy of Lorraine Becker]

In the 1950s when Dick Thompson went to Norway for a visit one of the places he stayed was at the Stalheim hotel near Voss, Hordaland, Norway, slightly north and east of Bergen.  The postcard above was one of those that his daughter showed me when I visited her a few weeks ago.  Rather like the Yvon postcards in France this one published by Ebern B. Opp has an identifying signature mark in the lower right corner.  Not many postcard publishers put their mark in this manner on the front of the cards as part of the picture the way an artist might on a painting.

The area pictured on the card is called the Næroy valley and is located between Voss and Gudvangen.  As I looked at the terrain surrounding the hotel it was difficult to imagine this as a postal farm or way station in 1647 but it was on the route that had just opened between Oslo and Bergen and therefore a rest stop much like the Pony Express stops in the United States.  Later an inn was built here in 1750.  That inn is now part of the Stalheim museum of antiques, artifacts, and art, one of Norway’s largest private collections.  A newer larger Stalheim Hotel pictured on the card was opened for business in 1885.  Unfortunately, in 1959 only a few years after Dick stayed here, there was a fire that destroyed most of the inn and resulted in the deaths of 34 people. 

A replacement was built in 1960 and is still a popular tourist hotel today.  An article I read said that since the early 18th century there have been many artists who have been inspired by the natural beauty of Stalheim.  One artist was J.C. Dahl who painted the romantically styled picture titled “Stalheim” in 1842 shown below.  The painting now hangs in the Norwegian National Gallery in Oslo. 

[* Artist: '''Johan Christian Dahl''' (Norway 1788–1857) * Title: '''Stalheim''' * Painted: 1842 * Oil on canvas. * The original painting is owned by Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo.]

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