Kaare Nygaard: Sculpture and Drawings

JANUARY 4 – 23, 2013

Opening Reception: January 12, 2013, 7 – 9 p.m.
Virginia and Jennifer C. Groot Gallery, Center for Art and Dance, St. Olaf College

Kaare Kristian Nygaard, M.D. (Norway 1903 – 1989)

Dr. Nygaard was born in Lillehammer, Norway. In 1929 he received his M.D. degree from Oslo University. For two years he practiced in Norway before moving to Lacrosse, Wisconsin where he was surgical assistant at the Gunderson Clinic. In 1931, Dr. Nygaard began a fellowship in surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His services included medical hospital, general medical and surgical diagnosis, and operative surgery. After completing his Mayo fellowship, Nygaard returned to Norway and for three years held the position of Assistant Professor of Surgery at Oslo University.

In 1940, Dr. Nygaard joined the surgical staff of White Plains Hospital, New York. During World War II, he established a special ward at that hospital that cared for more than 4,000 sick or injured Norwegian seamen. For this work and for his many other accomplishments, Dr. Nygaard was made a Knight First Class of the Order of St. Olav by king Haakon in 1948. He authored many medical and surgical articles as well as the book, Hemmorrhagic Diseases: Photo-Electric Study of Blood Coagulability. He began sculpting in 1951. As a sculptor, he published two books, The Spirit of Man: The Sculpture of Kaare Nygaard, and Knife, Life and Bronzes. His sculpture of refugees titled Hiroshima won the United Nations Commemorative Stamp Contest. His works have been widely exhibited, and he was Associate Professor and Artist in Residence for Sculpture at the State University of New York at Purchase.

In 1979, Dr. Nygaard retired from surgical practice. He died in White Plains, New York.

Dr. Nygaard founded the Nygaard Foundation (active 1990 – 2014) to foster an appreciation and understanding of the medical profession, visual arts and the Norwegian heritage of St. Olaf College. “Within this broad purpose, the Foundation will support: activities which foster appreciation and understanding of the visual arts in general and sculpture in particular; activities which promote the understanding of the medical profession, its history, and its practice; and activities which foster an appreciation of the Norwegian heritage of St. Olaf College by developing closer ties between the College and Norwegian cultural and educational institutions.”


Dr. Nygaard also bequeathed the College his sculpture and drawings. We wish to present some of that collection as we recognize the scope, breadth, and humanity of Dr. Nygaard and his art.