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Awards and modernist art

Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja have arrived in New York. Today they joined the other Nordic heads of state at the official opening of the art exhibition “Luminous Modernism”.

But first the King and Queen attended an awards luncheon hosted by the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC).

Awards ceremony

The NACC was founded in New York in 1915 to promote trade and business cooperation between Norway and the US. The organisation has conferred the Norwegian-American Trade Award and Norwegian-American Achievement Award since the early 1990s. King Harald and Queen Sonja were in attendance at the gala luncheon at the Pierre Hotel where the awards were presented today.

The fashion design company Moods of Norway was this year’s recipient of the Trade Award, while Mr Jack Waitz and the organisation Aktiv Mot Kreft received the Achievement Award. The King lauded the efforts of each of the recipients in his speech:

“The fashion designers in Moods of Norway have successfully exported their designs to the United States. (…) Moods of Norway has both strong Norwegian roots and flourishing international branches. They are representatives of the up-and-coming Norwegian fashion and creative industries, and a symbol of a new generation of Norwegian businesses in the US. Congratulations to all of you.”


“Our well-known long distance runner, the late Grete Waitz, is a legend in Norway as well as in New York. She was a recipient of the Achievement Award in 2005 in recognition of both her accomplishments in running, as well as her inspirational work. In her later years, she was admired for her incredible work for the cancer cause. She shared this passion with her husband Jack. They supported the founding of Aktiv Mot Kreft, established by Helle Aanesen in 2007. I would like to congratulate Jack Waitz, Helle Aanesen and Aktiv Mot Kreft with the Achievement Award.”

Modernism at Scandinavia House

Home of the American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF), Scandinavia House showcases contemporary Nordic art and culture along with business, finance and technology.

Queen Sonja undertook the official opening of the exhibition “Luminous Modernism: Scandinavian Art Comes to America, 1912”. Also in attendance were King Harald, Their Majesties King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden; His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, and Mrs Dorrit Moussaieff; Her Excellency Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, and Dr Pentti Arajärvi; and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. All of the Nordic countries were represented at the highest level.

The guests were given a guided tour of the exhibition by curator Dr Patricia Berman. On display are works by major Nordic artists from the beginning of the 19th century, including pioneers of the modernist movement such as Norwegian Edvard Munch, Danish Vilhelm Hammershøi and Swedish Anders Zorn.

“Luminous Modernism” looks back at the first exhibition organised by the ASF in 1912 – “Exhibition of Contemporary Scandinavian Art” – at which many Americans were first introduced to Scandinavian art. Twenty of the same artists and eight of the same works from the 1912 exhibition are presented in the current exhibition. But while the 1912 exhibition displayed only Danish, Swedish and Norwegian works, this year’s has been expanded to include Finnish and Icelandic artists, thereby illustrating the full range of artistic expression throughout the Nordic region during this period.

The exhibition will open for public viewing on 25 October.

Tomorrow’s programme

King Harald and Queen Sonja’s visit to the US is part of the commemorative activities marking the centennial anniversary of the ASF. The King and Queen will attend the Centennial Ball tomorrow evening. During the day they will pay a visit to Ground Zero and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

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