The painting on the cover of Oleanna is of the Sognefjord, which is the longest fjord in Norway, and the second largest in the world. For the people of western Norway, it was (and to an extent still is) a kind of a highway, giving the denizens of this mountainous area an easier way to travel.
In the map below, the Sognefjord is in the middle, and lake Jølster, (between Førde and Skei) is to the north.
Image courtesy Wikipedia.
Today, the Sognefjord is a popular tourist destination; it is dramatic and beautiful, easily navigable thanks to a regular and very efficient ferry service.
Photos from my trip to Norway, 2004
So, back to Adelsteen Normann. Mr. Normann (1848-1918) was a Norwegian painter who studied in Düsseldorf and then was based in Berlin (coming back to Norway every summer). He was most famous for befriending Edvard Munch and inviting him to exhibit in Berlin (which is where Munch painted The Scream).
Normann's work focused on landscapes, and primarily the fjords of Norway. He exhibited at the Salon de Paris in 1882 and received an Honorable Mention in 1884 and a Bronze Medal in 1889.
I love Normann's painting on the cover of Oleanna. I think it really captures the majesty and drama of the Sognefjord, but I also love the juxtapositions--the mountains and the tiny village, the ferry in the distance steaming toward us and the tiny rowboat in the foreground. It really captures so many of the themes of the book in one image.
Note: the Normann image is used on the cover of Oleanna, and throughout my promotional materials, courtesy of Bridgeman Art Library.