Gold Medalist Barbara Hawes, Painted, Rosemåled Box Signed and Dated 1978
Rosemåling is decorative folk art painting on wood that was developed in Norway; the word means 'rosepainting' in Norwegian. This exceptionally large wooden box with its decorative carrying handle was exquisitely painted in 1978 by renowned rosemåler Barbara Hawes from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mrs. Hawes is a 1971 Gold Medalist in the annual rosemåling competition at the Vesterheim National Norwegian-American Museum and Heritage Center in Decorah, Iowa.** She is one of the artists included in the softcover book, "A Collection of Norwegian Rosemaling in America" by Pamela Kephart. This book is out of print, but we obtained a used copy in very good condition and will include it with the purchase of the box. There is an interview with Mrs. Hawes on page 32 (shown in photograph #4) and her work is shown in color on page 70 of the book.
Rosemåling has been called a deep yearning for the colorful flowers and warmth of summer expressed through painting objects to brighten the home. There are three main styles of rosemåling; the artist used the Hallingdal type here, named for the Halling Valley in Norway, with very detailed, beautiful results. The flowers and scrolls are painted on a flat ecru background in green, red and gold. and the edges of the box are painted dark green. The front of the box and the cut-out handle are rosemåled, while the sides, interior and back are unadorned. Mrs. Hawes signed the box on the back and dated it 1978.
This piece, also known as a catchall, is imposing in size; for comparison, the book measures approximately 8 inches wide and 11 inches tall. It's in excellent condition, with just the green trim showing a few tiny dings. It sits on four "feet' formed by the front, back and sides. The overall size is 25 inches tall and 12 inches wide; the box part measures 11 inches high by 6 1/2 inches front to back. It's quite heavy, weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces, so while it looks like a wall hanging box, it would need to be a very sturdy wall. Having it sit on a piece of furniture to display it would be safer. It could hold magazines, brochures, folders, dried flowers or simply sit and be admired for its wonderful folk art artistry.
**Their website, http://vesterheim.org, lists Mrs. Hawes as a gold medalist and details the other medals she won.