Little Norway is that most rare of all historic sites, a private museum shared with the public by four generations of one family. For nearly 80 years, these kindred caretakers and custodians welcomed visitors who came to see the largest private collection of Norwegian antiques in America–housed in a complex of charming buildings and set in a beautiful Wisconsin valley, 20 miles west of Madison.
In the decade before his death, the founder of this remarkable collection, Isak Dahle (1883-1937), discovered and celebrated the richness of the folk art culture of his Norwegian ancestors. Collecting in both Norway and the upper Midwest, his greatest acquisition was the Norway Pavilion from the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition. This stunning stave church-style building still presides over the Little Norway valley, having been visited by thousands, ranging from Norwegian royalty to local natives. Dahle, an astute collector, brought together an incredible array of Norwegian and Norwegian-American decorative arts, valued both for both their beauty and historic associations. Dahle, one of the first patrons of Per Lysne, the noted Wisconsin artist who is credited as the father of American revival in rosemaling, also helped create the birth of American interest in ethnic culture. Far head of his time, Dahle deserves to be remembered as a fore-sighted collector, ranking with other early collectors of American cultural folk art, Henry Francis du Pont, Henry Ford, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.
For the past 75 years, the Little Norway collection has been augmented by Dahle’s descendants. By adding selective examples of Norwegian-American culture, they acquired an impressive holding of textiles, carved and painted utilitarian and decorative objects, furniture, and other decorative arts. With the museum now closed, Jackson's International is proud to offer these lots from the museum’s displays, most of which were acquired prior to 1937 by Isak Dahle personally.