Letter

Astrup, Nikolai to Meyer, Hans Jacob
1925-04-01

Transcription:

Tor Martin Leknes

Translation:

Francesca Nichols

Page

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Transcription
Translation

Letter

Astrup, Nikolai to Meyer, Hans Jacob
1925-04-01
Brevs.295-66546, Nasjonalbiblioteket

11 Pages

Transcription: Tor Martin Leknes

Translation: Francesca Nichols

Transcription

Kjære Hr. Meyer!

Tak for Deres venlige brev! – Ja jeg

er skamfuld over, at jeg ikke har skrevet

för og takket Dem og frùe for alt det, I

sendte vore börn til jùl; – min kone har

skjændt paa mig mange gange og bedt mig

skrive, – og jeg har opsat og opsat, fordi jeg

tænkte, at jeg samtidig skùlde faaet sendt det

jeg havde lovet, – men jeg har været noksaa

plaget af asthmaen (ùdenlandsturen hjalp nok

bare for 2 aar, – og jeg blir nok nù værre efter

hvert) – saa har jeg ogsaa maattet "hænge i"

sent og tidligt, – det er ikke saa greit i disse 

daarlige tider at underholde kone og 7 börn, –

især naar man har en stor gjæld at betale paa

(fra udenlandstoùren) – og samtidig ikke er frisk.

Ja tùsend tak for bestillingerne, – de kommer

vel med nù, og jeg skal gaa igang straks og

lave flere ùdgaver i sort og hvidt af "vaarnat

og seljekall", jeg har nemlig lavet den i flere

2

variationer, – (da jeg snart har benyttet den ene eller den

andre af farveplaterne til en og samme "graatone".

Haaber jeg skal faa sendt det i löbet af 8-10 dage.

Vi har havt en vanskelig tid, da min kone har

havt tilbagefald af gigtfeberen og nù efterpaa

har faaet "knùderos", – saa hùn har maattet

ligge ca. 2 maaneder, – hendes mor har ligget

i "plevrit" siden för jùl og ligger endnù.

De spörger om betaling for det sorte træsnit, som

De kalder "Bakkestöilen" – (det er ikke fra Bakke-

stöilen i Stardalen, men fra stöilene: Bærvingstöil,

Flatjordstöil, Lyngstadstöil og Grepstadstöil, som

alle ligger i Bærvingsdalen i Stardalen op ùnder

Jostedalsbræen òg tvers over for "Bakkestöilen" paa

den anden side af Stardalsbygden; – de to dalförer

Veitebergsdalen (med Bakkestöil) – og Bærvingsdalen

ligger höit over Stardalsbygden og de danner tilsam-

men et kors med denne – slig omtrent altsaa:

Illustrasjon

                              3

Ja, dette blev en lang parentes, – som endte i et

slags "kart"; – hvad jeg vilde sagt var, at det jo

var aftale, at De – eller rettere Deres frùe skulde

have dette træsnit som foræring eller rettere sagt

som betaling for at jeg benyttede omtrent samme

motiv som hendes tegning, – noget som jeg troede

at have faaet hendes tilladelse til, – naar jeg tok

motivet op igjen fra et lidt andet standpùnkt.

De to arbeider er jo saa forskjellige, at kùn de som kjen-

der kultegningen svært nöie vil kùnde kjende den 

igjen paa træsnittet det samme motiv, – ellers

ligner jo alle motiverne der inde hinanden, saa

det er forstaaeligt, at De troede at træsnittet var

(fra) "Bakkestöilen", som ligger over en halv mil derfra, –

med selve hovedvei og Stardalsbygd imellem. Det

er nemlig den samme baggrùnd, man ser fra begge

fjeldalene (tvers over hovedbygden – for Bakkestölens vedkom-

mende). – Jeg fik i höst et indtryk af, at

Deres frùe syntes, at jeg havde gaaet vel nær ind

paa ligheden af hendes tegning, – jeg maa isaafald

gjöre hende min ùndskyldning; – men da jeg gjen-

tog motivet nù 3-4 aar senere, faldt det mig

ikke ind, at der skùlde blive nogen större lighed,

da det var helt andre ting, som interesserede mig dennegang

4

i motivet, (det var særlig denne "stöilsgate" – "teine"

heder det her, – som bragte mig til at tænke paa, at

slig laa antagelig et almindeligt gaardstùn her

i Jölster for 2-3 tùsend aar siden, – et "pladsemands-

tùn" ("hùsmandstùn" – eller "trælletùn"); – jeg har

som gùt seet et lignende tùn her nede i bygden,

men der var selvsagt hùsene större; – denne stöil

er nogen af de mindste hùs jeg har seet).

Da jeg ved juletid sendte Kramer nogle træsnit pakked

jeg ogsaa ind nogle tryk af "stöilen", for at De skulde

have noget at "vælge i", da jeg varierer den noget. 

Haaber da, at De fik et godt tryk; hvis De senere 

skulde se et tryk, som var bedre, skal jeg straks bytte

med et saadant, – jeg vil at De skal have det, som De

maatte like bedst. – Jeg nævnte intet til Kramer om

at trykken var gratis, – sa kùn, at han skulde overbrin-

ge trykkene til Dem til udvalg, – han har da kanhænde

af misforstaaelse forlangt betaling af Dem, – han skrev

siden til mig om, at han ikke vidste om Meyer skulde

have den til billigere pris, – jeg svarede da, at Meyer og

jeg skùlde afgjöre det senere. Havde jeg dengang

vidst, at De vilde havt de to tryk, som De kjöbte

af Kramer, skulde jeg sendt Dem disse – selvfölgelig

ùden betaling, – men da jeg fik pengene, kom de vel med

                                     5

og jeg siger Dem mange tak for kjöbet! – (at sende

pengene tilbake til Dem troede jeg ogsaa vilde være

at fornærme Dem). Er der nogen andre ting i

"sort og hvidt", som De kùnde önske at have, saa

sig bare fra, – saa skal jeg trykke, hvad de önsker 

i "sort og hvidt" ùden betaling, – (i farver tager det jo

længere tid, da det maa törre mellem hvert plate tryk – for

tidens skuld maa jeg da beregne noget). "Kornstaùr" har

jeg aldrig prövet i "sort og hvidt" men jeg skal pröve

det nù, og ifald det lykkes, skal De ha den gratis

for all den venlighed De har vist mig og mine, men jeg

er bange for, at det kan blive vanskeligt at faa mane-

skindstemningen helt frem i bare "sort og hvidt"; – De

nævner, at De synes at have seet den i "sort og hvidt"

paa min væg, – det maa være en feiltagelse. "Sort og hvidt"

er jo den knappeste og fyndigste form, hvori man kan

udtrykke sig – "rent malerisk seet", men det er jo

vanskeligt da midlerne er saa sterkt begrændsede – –

jeg tör derfor ikke paa forhaand aldeles sikkert love, at

jeg klarer denne tryk: ("kornstaur i maaneskin") i "sort og hvidt". 

Kùltegningen fra Alger var det jo ogsaa aftalen, at De

skùlde have som foræring, – men De vilde gjerne ha

min kone mere "like sig", – og det har jeg ikke klaret

endnù, da tegningen er fixeret – og saaledes vanskeligt at

                              6

at rette paa – jeg har sat Deres navn paa tegningen,

det er desværre alt hvad jeg har gjort med den, siden

sidst De saa den, men jeg skal tage fat paa den, naar

min kone kommer sig op igjen. – Finder jeg flere

tegninger i "pen" fra den gamle tiden, skal De ogsaa

faa den paa samme maade; – jeg har lovet Dem en speciell

tegning, som jeg endnù ikke har fundet, – jeg var tilstede

ved nedrivningen af mit gamle hùs paa Myklebùst i

haab om at finde den, – men forgjæves; – finder jeg den ikke

naar jeg nù en gang faar mit atteliere i orden og faar gjennemsögt mine "kasser", – saa skal

jeg gjentage den saa godt jeg kan efter hukommelsen – til

Dem, men den blir ikke saa god som den gamle. – Har

De mit förste træsnit?: et lidet selvportrait fra 20 aars-

alderen? Bryr De Dem om det? – Jeg skal naar jeg

faar tid sende de ting i sort og hvidt, som jeg tror, at

De ikke har, – skulde De da alt have nogen af disse

för; eller der var ting, De ikke bröd Dem, om saa kan

De jo sende disse til Didr. Andersen.

Det var morsomt at Neumann var fornöiet med sit

billede, – han har forresten Dem at takke; at der blev nedlagt

saa meget arbeide paa billedet. – Da De nemlig foreslog

mig prisen, – syntes jeg, at jeg maatte gjöre saa meget

arbeide for den pris, at jeg var sikker paa, at han havde

                                   7

fuld værdi for pengene, – jeg kunde solgt billedet til

höiere pris til andre; men han havde jo maattet

vente længe; – og da han nù för jùl fik billedet

slog han af 50 – henimod sexti kroner paa min gjæld,

saa der blev ingen rente for mig at betale, – til gjengjæld

slog da Kramer af 50 kr. paa prisen paa et træsnit, som

Neymann samtidig kjöbte. – Kramer skrev en slags

ùndskyldning til mig for at han egenmagtig havde

gjort dette, som jeg selvfölgelig bare var glad for. –

Deres exlibris har jeg ùnder arbeide, – har kaseret et par plater

alt, da jeg har vanskeligt for at arbeide saa "smaat" nù som

i gamle dage" faar jeg den god, skal de faa den gratis.

De tilböd mig i gamle dage at gjöre mig en tjeneste,

om jeg skùlde trænge den, – nù skal jeg faa lov at

benytte mig deraf: jeg skylder min slegtning – (vi kalder

hende tante Hanna) – frù Lodtz Johannesen – lidt over 100 Kr.

jeg fik en del frùgt fra hende ifjor, – deriblandt en

kasse grönne æpler, som var dyre og gode; – jeg over-

lod kassen til en rig mand her, – fordi hans datter

havde "tæring" – og trængte frùgt, da hùn intet andet

kunde spise – hùn kom sig – men nù vil manden

ikke betale mig, og jeg har ventet med at sende

tante Hanna disse penge i paavente af pengene

fra nævnte mand – nù kan jeg ikke lade tante H.

                                     8

vente længer, – synes jeg; – vil De da Hr. Meyer være

saa venlig at gjöre mig den tjeneste, at betale ud til

frù Hanna Lodtz Johannessen af de penge, som jeg

faar for de 2 seljekaller, som jeg skal sende til Dem.

Jeg skylder nemlig postaabneren her paa stedet, og faar

jeg pengene hid, maa jeg ùd med dem til ham, –

naar han ikke ser, at jeg faar penge i posten, venter han

mig nok et par ùker endnù, – han er forresten min svoger.

Frù Lodtz Johannessen kjender De fra för, – da De saa

paa et billede, som hùn har (et af mine ældste). – Hùn

har en liden sùkkertöi forretning paa tys Sukkerhùs bryggen.

De hùsker sikkert stedet fra sidst, – jeg hùsker ikke

i öieblikket gatenùmmeret – det er Sukkerhùsgaten –

(like ved hjörnet af denne og den lille gate, der svinger

op til Vestre mùralmenning og Jonsvoldsgaten? heter det vist.

Naar man gaar nedover Vestre mùralmenning paa venstre

side saa langt, man kan komme, – eller til man ser

Sukkerhùsbryggen og da svinger tilhöire mod

denne, saa er der kùn 4-5 skridt at gaa til hendes

bùtikdör, – förste dör paa höire haand forbi hùshjör-

net – (midt i det afskraanede hjörne er en dör til en

tobaksforretning). Hvis jeg ikke plager Dem formeget

med dette, turde jeg kanske bede Dem om at lade

hende besörge mig tilsendt en kasse apelsiner ({…}

                               9

af de billigste og simpleste – samt en kasse 

grönne æpler – (de röde raadner nemlig halvdelen

af, förend vi faar dem op fra Förde nù i det daarlige före)

Min syke kone og mine börn kan trænge lidt frùgt

– jeg selv ogsaa for min asthma, – börnene ser noget

bleke ut efter vinteren, da de har faaet være lidet ùde

af mangel paa sko og strömper, – det er ikke saa

greit at holde sligt iorden til en hel flok, naar

hùsmoderen ligger syk. De to ældste har været

nok ùde paa danseleiker og ski i hele vinter – og ser

helt anderledes friske ùd. – Arnold var nù igaar med

paa hoplöbet og i forgaars paa længdelöbet, hvor

han blev nr. 2 – (han mistede en skistav ùnderveis

og angrer nù paa at han vendte om for at hente

den tilbake i farten – den kùnde ligget til senere – han

manglede nemlig bare 2 sekùnder paa at være nr. 1).

I hoplöbet vandt han extrapræmien, som var opsat

"for den dristigste hopper", – men han var uheldig

der og, – da bakkens ùndafrend – (ùndaf fald) var lavet

for kort ùnder eller nedenfor hoppet til den "yngste

klasse", og da han hoppet over 15 m. kom han

like i flaten med en gang og maatte da overende, –

et staaende hop paa 12 m. kùnde ikke reparere dette;

han vilde da staaet sig bedre, om han havde været med

i "den ældste klasse", hvor der var bedre ùndafheld, men

                              10

da han nettop har fyldt 11 aar, var det jo ikke tale

om at faa være med der. I det andet hop paa

12 m., hvor han "stod", – tùrde han ikke hoppe ordentlig

til af frygt for at komme forbi bakken og i flaten

en gang til; 1ste præmievinderen i yngste klasse

naaede ikke en gang 12 m. i sit længste hop –

og da han ikke engang fik 2den præmien, – saa var nok

Arnold næsten paa graaten; thi han havde altid været

den bedste hopperen af ùnggùttene her. – Han er

forresten en ùmùlig fyr i mange ting – forsvinder om

morgenen för folk er oppe og kommer igjen om kvelden

eller ud paa nat, – gaar i dagevis ùden at spise, saa vi ofte

ikke kan forstaa, hvad han lever af, – mangen dag er det

kùn lidt kold saftsuppe hans menù bestaar af.

Ja saa maa vi atter sige Eder tusend tak for

julesendingen til barna, det var altfor snildt af

Eder – börnene fik intet andet til jùl her i fattig-

dommen og de vil nok erindre Eder alle dage.

Med de hjærteligste hilsener fra min kone og 

mig

Eders

Nikolai Astrup

Konvolutt, framside:

Til

Hr. Capt. H. J. Meyer

   Vetrlidsalmenning 27

Bergen

Translation

Dear Mr. Meyer!

Thank you for Your kind letter! – Well I

am ashamed, that I have not written

sooner to thank You and Your wife for everything You

sent our children for Christmas; – my wife has

scolded me many times and asked me

to write, – and I have delayed again and again, because I

thought, that I should at the same time send what

I had promised, – but I have been quite

bothered by the asthma (the journey abroad helped

for 2 years only, – and I will probably become worse even-

tually) – and then I have also had to "be at it"

morning noon and night, – it is not so easy in these

difficult times to provide for a wife and 7 children, –

especially when one has large debts to pay back

(from the journey abroad) – and on top of that not being well.

Many thanks for the commissions, – they are

very welcome now, and I shall begin immediately and

make several versions in black and white of "spring night

and willow", I have in fact executed it in several

2

variations, – (as I have soon used one or an-

other of the coloured blocks for the same "grey tone".

Hope I can send it within 8-10 days.

We have had a difficult time, as my wife has

had a relapse of rheumatic fever and now as a result

has "St. Anthony’s Fire", – so she has had to stay in

bed for about 2 months, – her mother has been bed-ridden

with "pleurisy" since before Christmas and is still in bed.

You ask about payment for the black woodcut, which 

You call "the Bakke mountain grazing farm" – (it is not from the Bakke

mountain grazing farm in Stardalen, but from the mountain grazing farms: Bærvingstöil,

Flatjordstöil, Lyngstadstöil and Grepstadstöil, which are

all situated in Bærvingsdalen in Stardalen directly under

the Jostedal Glacier and across from "the Bakke mountain grazing farm" on

the other side of Stardal village; – the two valleys

Veitebergsdalen (with the Bakke grazing mountain farm) – and Bærvingsdalen

are situated high above Stardalsbygden and together they

form a cross with this one – something like this:

Illustration

                              3

Well, this turned out to be a long digression, – which resulted in a

"map" of sorts; – what I wanted to say was, that there

was an agreement that You – or rather Your wife should

have this woodcut as a gift or rather

as payment in return for my having used approximately the same

motif as her drawing, – which I believed

I had received her permission for, – when I returned

to the motif from a slightly different position.

The two works are so different, that only those who are very familiar

with the charcoal drawing would be able to recognise

in the woodcut the same motif, – aside from that

all the motifs resemble each other in there, so

it is understandable, that You thought the woodcut was

(from the) "Bakke mountain grazing farm", which lies more than five kilometres from there, –

with the main road and the village of Stardal in-between. It

is in fact the same background, one can see from both

mountain valleys (straight across the main village – in Bakkestölen’s

case). – I got the impression this autumn, that

Your wife thought, that I had come a little too

close in imitating her drawing, – I must in that case

offer my apologies to her; – but when I re-

peated the motif now 3-4 years later, it did not

occur to me, that there would be any great resemblance,

as there were totally different things that interested me back then

4

in the motif, (it was especially this "row of mountain cabins" – "teine"

it’s called here, – which caused me to think, that

this is probably what a common farm looked like here

in Jölster 2-3 thousand years ago, – a "pladsemands-

tùn" ("a cotter’s farm" – or "a croft"); – I have

seen a similar grange down here in the village as a boy,

but there the cabins were larger of course; – this mountain grazing farm

has some of the smallest houses I have seen).

When I sent Kramer some woodcuts around Christmastime I also

packed some prints of the "mountain grazing farm", so that You might

have something to "choose among", as I vary it somewhat. 

I thus hope, that You got a good print; if You should 

later see a print, that is better, I shall immediately exchange

it with one such, – I want You to have what You

might like best. – I did not mention to Kramer 

that the prints were gratis, – only that he should send

the prints to You to select from, – he may thus have

due to a misunderstanding demanded payment from You, – he later

wrote to me, that he did not know whether Meyer should

have it for a cheaper price, – I replied, that Meyer and

I would decide upon that later. Had I known

then that You wished to have those two prints, which You purchased

from Kramer, I would have sent You these – of course

without payment, – but when I received the money, it came in handy

                                     5

and I thank You many times over for the purchase! – (to return

the money to You I thought would be 

an insult to You). If there are some other things in

"black and white", that You might like to have, just

say so, – and I will print whatever you wish 

in "black and white" free of charge, – (in colour it takes

more time, as it must dry between each block print – due

to the time element I must therefore calculate something). "Grain poles" I have

never attempted in "black and white" but I shall attempt

it now, and if it is successful, You shall have it gratis

for all the kindness You have shown me and my family, but I

fear, that it might be difficult to evoke the moon-

light atmosphere well enough in "black and white" only; – You

mention, that You thought you have seen it in "black and white"

on my wall, – that must be a misunderstanding. "Black and white"

is the simplest and most succinct form, in which one can

express oneself – "in a purely painterly respect", but it is

difficult when the means are so severely limited – –

I therefore do not dare in advance promise with utmost certainty, that

I will succeed with this print: ("grain poles in moonlight") in "black and white". 

The charcoal drawing from Algiers was also agreed upon, that You 

should have as a gift, – but You wished for my wife

to have more "of a resemblance", – and I have not managed that

yet, as the drawing is treated with fixative – and thus difficult to

                              6

to correct – I have put Your name on the drawing,

that is unfortunately all that I have done with it, since

You last saw it, but I shall begin working on it again, when

my wife is on her feet again. – If I find more

drawings in "pen" from the old days, You shall

have it in the same manner; – I have promised You a particular

drawing, which I have not found yet, – I was present

at the demolition of my old house at Myklebùst in

the hope of finding it, – but in vain; – if I do not find it

when at some point I put my studio in order and can go through my "crates", – then I 

shall reproduce it as well as I can from memory – for

You, but it will not be as good as the old one. – Do

You have my first woodcut?: a little self-portrait from when I was

around twenty? Do You like it? – I shall when I

have the time send the things in black and white, that I believe

You do not have, – should You have some of them

already; or there are things, that You do not care for, then 

You can send these to Didr. Andersen.

It was nice [to hear] that Neumann was satisfied with his

picture, – he can by the way thank You; for there being so much 

work invested in the picture. – For when You suggested

the price to me, – I felt that I must invest enough

work for the price, in order to be certain, that he received

                                   7

full value for his money, – I could have sold the picture for

a higher price to others; but he was forced 

to wait a long time; – and when he received the picture now before Christmas

he deducted 50 – nearly sixty kroner from my debt,

so there was no interest for me to pay, – in return

Kramer deducted 50 kroner from the price of a woodcut, that

Neymann bought at the same time. – Kramer wrote a form

of apology to me for having wilfully

done so, which I was of course only pleased with –

Your ex libris is in progress, – have discarded a couple of blocks

already, as I find it difficult to work so "minutely" now as

in the old days" if I can do a good job, You shall have it gratis.

You once offered to do me a favour in the past,

if I should need it, – I will now permit myself to 

take advantage of it: I owe my relative – (we call

her aunt Hanna) – Mrs. Lodtz Johannesen – a little more than 100 kroner

I received some fruit from her last year, – among other things a

crate of green apples, which were expensive and delicious; – I en-

trusted the crate to a rich man here, – because his daughter

had "consumption" – and needed fruit, as she could not eat

anything else – she recovered – but now the man

will not pay me, and I have postponed sending

aunt Hanna this money in expectation of the money

from the above-mentioned man – now I feel I cannot allow aunt H.

                                     8

to wait any longer; – will You Mr. Meyer be

so kind as to do me the favour of giving

Mrs. Hanna Lodtz Johannessen the money, that I

shall have for the 2 willows, that I am sending You.

You see I owe the postmaster here in the village, and if I receive

the money here, I will have to hand over the money to him, –

when he does not see, that I receive money in the post, he will

wait another week or two, – he is my brother-in-law by the way.

Mrs. Lodtz Johannessen You know from before, – as You looked

at a picture, that she has (one of my oldest). – She 

has a little sweet shop on Sukkerhus pier.

You must remember it from when we were there last, – I cannot remember

the street number at the moment – it is in Sukkerhùsgaten 

(by the corner of this street and the little street, that swings

up towards Vestre mùralmenning and Jonsvoldsgaten? I think it is called.

When one walks down Vestre mùralmenning on the left

side as far as one can, – or until one can see

Sukkerhùs pier then turn right towards 

the pier, and then there are only 4-5 steps to her

shop door, – the first door on the right past the cor-

ner – (in the middle of the oblique corner is a door to a 

tobacco shop). If I am not asking too much of You

by this, dare I perhaps ask You to have 

her deliver a crate of oranges to me ({…}

                               9

the cheapest and most ordinary – and a crate of 

green apples – (half of the red ones rot you

see, before they arrive up from Förde now with the poor road conditions)

My sick wife and my children could use a little fruit

– myself as well for my asthma, – the children look rather

pale after the winter, as they have seldom been outdoors

due to the lack of shoes and stockings, – it is not so

easy to keep track of such for a whole flock, when

the housewife is bed-ridden. The two oldest have been

out dancing and skiing all winter – and have a

very different healthy appearance. – Arnold participated just yesterday

in the [ski] jumping competition and the day before in the cross-country race, where

he came in as no. 2 – (he lost one of his ski poles along the way

and regrets now that he turned back to

fetch it on the go – it could have remained there until later – for

he was only 2 seconds behind being no. 1).

In the [ski] jumping competition he won the extra prize, which was created

"for the most daring jumper", – but he was unlucky

there as well, – as the landing area – (the slope) under or 

below the jump was made too short for the "youngest

class", and when he jumped over 15 m. he landed

on the flat ground straightaway and fell over as a result, –

not even a standing jump of 12 m. could not make up for this;

he would have fared better, had he been included

in "the oldest class", where the landing area was better, but

                              10

since he has just turned 11, it was out of the question

to be able to compete there. In his second jump of

12 m., in which he "stood", – he did not dare to jump properly

for fear of coming past the hill and onto flat ground

once again; The 1st prize winner in the youngest class

did not even reach 12 m. in his longest jump –

and when he did not even win 2nd prize, – 

Arnold was almost in tears; for he had always been

the best jumper among the young boys here. – He is

incidentally an impossible boy in many ways – disappears in

the morning before anyone is up and returns in the evening

or late at night, – goes for days without eating, so that we often

cannot understand, what he survives on, – on many days his

menu consists of only a little gruel.

And now we must thank You again for

the Christmas package for the children, it was much too kind of

You – the children did not get anything else for Christmas here

in our poverty and they will surely remember You always.

With warmest wishes from my wife and 

me

Your

Nikolai Astrup

Envelope, front:

To

Capt. H. J. Meyer

   Vetrlidsalmenning 27

Bergen