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Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

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Dublin, Ireland
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Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

Having enjoyed my time in Norway, my only unanswered question was the one above? Is it just a traditional colour, just popular? in fashion now? having a greater cultural significance?

Was painter Munch just a little crazy or just misunderstood?

Sorry, not travel queries, but love to know the answers!

Oslo, Norway
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1. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

I can't give you any other reply than this link for your last question:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edvard_Munch

I see what you have noticed about colours etc., but I do not know any objective response.

Scunthorpe, United...
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2. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

Baby2,

I have been told this.

Historically red paint was the cheapest available and used for sheds, barns and the houses of poorer people. Yellow was more expensive and used more for houses. White was the most expensive and used by the well-to-do. Often just the front of a building would be painted with the more expensive colour, the sides and back with cheaper stuff.

Blue paint became available later and by that time cost differential was less.

Michael

Bergen, Norway
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3. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

*looks out through the window* ... Rusty colour? Nah.....? I don't think many houses here have a "rusty" colour....? :o)

Dublin, Ireland
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4. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

Mette S: You're looking out the wrong window. Go to another window - Now!!

Call it reddish brown if you like and put some white framed windows in it and many's a Norwegian house you will see.

No opinions on Munch then? I am trying to indulge my sensitive side here. LOL

Hønefoss Norway
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5. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

wasleys explanation is correct. Red or nothing for outhouses, white for living-houses. In the south you will mostly see white painted houses, traditionally in cities with sail ship owners (white sails)

Bergen, Norway
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6. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

Yes, barns etc are traditionally painted red - while the houses are often white. So you'll see quite a lot of red in the countryside, not so much in towns.

Seal Beach...
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7. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

There was just an article in the Oslo newspaper about a month ago when I was there visiting my family that indicated that there was a definite pattern to housing colors in the city vs. the countryside, with white being the most common color overall by quite a large margin.

In cities it was white, blue, gray, yellow, red, green and other.

In countryside it was white, red, yellow/orange, blue, green, gray and other.

The information given in the second reply was also mentioned in the same article but it also said that generally there are other patterns in the colors as they might vary from north to south and east to west and so could be considered cultural in a regional sense. Some supposition was given that in the snowiest and most forested regions bright colors seemed to be the choice so the house can be sighted more easily and that the more subtle colors of the city were a nod to the modern sensabilities of those living in cities. Generally in the countryside it is just a way of differentiating yourself from your neighbors.

Nonetheless, white is still the most common by a large margin and they consider it will continue for a long time to come.

As to Munch, I don't know that he was any crazier than other painters who were truly certifiable (see Van Gogh, Cezanne, et al). Though his most famous works are those in the style of the famous "Scream", if you have a chance to look at a display of the variety of his works you will find he has beautiful landscape pictures, wonderful portraits of friends and relatives ( a particularly touching one I've seen is of his beautiful sister - very delicately and lovingly done - you can just sense that he really adored her.) and of course others done in the later style more like the Scream, but in different subject matters that did not have that intensity, like seascapes and ships. Do take some time to go to the Munch museum or to the Art museum in downtown Oslo where they had a full room display of many types of his work last year and you will see how divergent his subject matter and styling really is.

Ha det! LL

Prittlbach, Germany
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8. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

I know that the red paint of the houses in Sweden is a by-product of copper-mining and is said to protect the wood really good. Since Norway also has/had some mines this may also be a traditional paint to use (cheap in the old days).

Dublin, Ireland
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9. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

Thank you so much, such a well informed and interesting bunch of contributors :-)

I did go to the Munch museum in Oslo, alas just as they were preparing for a big exhbition and it was closed - had to content myself with a book. I was quietly surprised and pleased to see the 'softer' side of Munch's work. I suppose the Scream is so 'overexposed' it can lead you feel a little gloomy.

I am sorry I did not buy 2 reindeer skins to remind me of the beautiful town of Flam.

Have a good winter Norwegian friends!

10. Re: Why are many houses painted rusty colour?

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