A Glimpse into the House and Decorative Paint Market in Norway During World War I (1914–1918)



In the first half of the twentieth century in Norway, linseed oil was the primary binding medium used in house paint, decorative paint and artists’ paint. During the First World War (WWI), however, the cost of linseed oil rose dramatically. In 1917, it was rationed, and it then became unavailable for commercial paint use. What were the consequences of the restricted access to linseed oil? To examine this question, articles and advertising published in Maleren, a biweekly Norwegian journal for house and decorative paint, with house painters and architects as the target audience, were studied. The research results show that a range of so-called surrogate products became available in Norway during WWI. Diverse materials were used as binding media in the paint, and the quality of the available paint products varied widely. The research contributes to a broader understanding of the house painters’ market in this complex period and gives important background information for conservators examining architectural decorations as well as easel paintings which were created in Norway during WWI.


Surrogate paint Surrogate oil Traditional recipes Ready-mixed paint Enamel paint 



Grateful thanks are extended to the Norwegian Research Council for the provision of funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conservation DepartmentNorwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU)OsloNorway

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