The art critic Tommaso Paloscia, during the past few decades considered the absolute authority
in Florence and Tuscany, is also known for his books on art history and his conferences in Europe.
In 1997 he writes of Hagtvedt:
Born in Norway, but citizen of the world - a painter whose formation would not have been possible
without extensive travels - driven by an insane will to learn from all countries, "reading" not
only museums and monuments but also the behavior of people, the traditions, the customs, the
fashions: Henrik Hagtvedt, 26 years old, carries within himself a particularly solid cultural
fundament. His artistic ballast consists not only of scholastic experience and the formative
impulses of philosophy and psychology, but also of specialized learning pertaining to
geographically specified areas. Here, in fact, we see specialized artistic technique stemming
from such diverse areas as Oslo and Amsterdam, London and Florence. The Florentine influence
consists partially of human anatomy and the abstract studies with Giulietti at the Academy of
Hagtvedt is a born painter of temperament, displaying the heritage which many of his kinsmen
must be gratified to have in memory and spirit: the heritage of the great Munch. Such
expressionism is the language through which Hagtvedt exposes his images. He does so naturally,
as if he was speaking his native tongue. And as his esteemed compatriot at the end of the 19th
century, he acquires, through the cultural span offered by his hosting countries, a sensibility
to colour which transforms the images come about as almost monochromatic manifestations. Maybe
this evolution of the palette initially attenuated the expressive intensity, but having accepted
this change as a grammatical enrichment, the eloquence flows with the liberty of communication
which Hagtvedt has exhibited possession of and which naturally stimulates his personality to
reveal itself ever more fully.
The arrival and stay in Italy, first of all Florence, have in my opinion played a particularly
interesting role in this artistic journey of the nomadic painter. It is as if the mad coordinates
are again functioning to locate the site, the space in which gather the values that Hagtvedt seeks.
In search of himself he feels an extreme need of these values; one could say it is his own identity
as a painter and a poet. Therefore, dramatic expression has reappeared in Hagtvedt's imagery, yet
not entrusted solely to facial gestures that remind coldly and externally of the Scream; but to the
situations, the environment, the psychological reading of the subjects. Through this we see the
maturity of this painter, who today analyses more profoundly that which he offers. And he does so
with greater consciousness of his acquired values.
It is probable that Hagtvedt, urged by the demon that blesses his nomadic way, will set out again
on the search for new sensations. From these he will undoubtedly extract ulterior cultural
enrichments. One would think, however, that the Florentine impulses are destined to leave
substantial traces in his art and in his continued exchange with other countries and cultures,
with the diverse rituals that accompany new understanding.