"God bless King and Country”. Door panel painted by Johannes Jonsson Kjærland around 1830. (Nils Georg Brekke).
KJERLAND, RØYNSTROND AND THE DECORATIVE PAINTERS
On the farms Kjerland and Røynstrond, east of the river that flows into the fjord, we find many decorative painters who belong to the so-called sòlekistemålarane in Hardanger: Knut and Mikkjel Røynstrand and Johannes Jonsson Kjærland.
He was the oldest of them, born in 1804, and he had skills out of the ordinary. Only 16 years old he was a school manager, he learned to paint, perhaps by Bjørn Bjaalid or another of the painters from Telemark – and at the age of 25 he started at Prahl’s lithographical school in Bergen. At the same time he attended Det Nyttige Selskabs (the useful society) drawing school in the evenings. At the exam there he was awarded first prize. After some years as teacher at Christi Krybbe School and as parish clerk in Sund, he settled down in Kinsarvik as a decorative painter, together with his cousin Trond Larsson Hus. We see that Johannes has acquired academic expertise regarding proportions and round modelling, he is probably one of the best educated decorative painters in Norway, expertise from the town, but rooted in the rural culture.