Thorvald Hellesen was a Norwegian painter. He was a student of Christian Krohg at the Norwegian Academy of Fine Arts in 1910–1911. From 1912 he lived in Paris. Here he became a pupil of Fernand Léger and came up with a cubist form of expression of a distinctly decorative character.
From around 1915 he made abstracted human figures and still-life representations (often with musical instruments). He also created abstract compositions made up of clearly defined geometric shapes, partly monochrome, partly with sliding silkscreen-like color transitions. Collage elements are also found in his pictures, such as newspaper clippings, pieces of wood, silver paper and the like. His idiom around 1920 is akin to Léger's contemporary painting, machine cubism, where recognizable and abstract pictorial elements are juxtaposed. In exhibition catalogs from the 1920s, there are no titles for his pictures, only the neutral designation Peinture.
In the first half of the 1920s, Hellesen developed his painting in a plan cubist direction, influenced by Albert Gleizes' ideas. He now worked with decorative art in posters and scenography, and with patterns for textiles and wallpaper. The Art Deco decoration of the Maritime Building in Oslo was begun in 1923. From 1925 he no longer participated in exhibitions. From around 1930 he became more and more isolated in the French art milieu, and plagued by illness, he was transported home to Norway in 1937, where he died shortly afterwards.
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