Astri Aasen

Astri Aasen's father, a goldsmith, moved to Trondheim from Kristiansund in 1874. The family was hit hard by illness. Her mother died from consumption [pulmonary tuberculosis] when Astri was two. Three young siblings died in short order in 1880-82, and the two oldest sisters died of pneumonia within a month of each other in 1892, barely 20 years old. Nor did the goldsmith business prove to be lucrative for Nils Aasen, as he went bankrupt in 1887. He later made a successful comeback due to his skills and inventiveness.
It is not surprising that Astri Aasen took an interest in art and design at an early stage in her life. Her first steps in this direction were taken in the photography profession, and for a period of time she worked on retouching for a photographer in Ă…lesund. But she had talent for "free art", and she received her first schooling in Asor Hansen's school for painters in Bergen in 1900.
Primarily Astri Aasen is known as a home-town artist. Most of those who assess her work highlight her portrait skills, while many others feel that much of her best work was in sketching and graphic art.
Astri Aasen did not have a long life. In 1943 her sister Kristine established a legacy fund, Astri Aasens gave [Astri Aasen's gift], in memory of her sister the painter. It offers funding to young persons with a talent in the visual arts, preferably women. The fund is awarded on Astri's birthday, 3 September.
Recommended reading: Norsk kunstnerleksikon [Encyclopaedia of Norwegian Arts], volume 4. Universitetsforlaget, 1982.