View Highlights of Norway's Massive, New National Museum Debuting June 11

  • May 31, 2022 12:22

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The National Museum exterior with Light Hall, Oslo. Photo by Børre Høstland
Gustav Gaudernack, Dragonfly Bowl. The National Museum of Norway.
Harriet Backer, Blue Interior. National Museum of Norway.
Edvard Munch, "The Girls on the Bridge", Ca. 1901. Photo: The National Museum / Børre Høstland

Norway's long-awaited National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design opens in Oslo on June 11. Designed by Klaus Schuwerk, who partnered with Kleihues + Kleihues of Germany and Dyrvik Arkitekter of Norway, the new 587,000-square-foot building merges the collections of four institutions with some 6,500 objects displayed in around 90 rooms. 

An 87-room presentation of works showcases the museum’s collections that span from medieval tapestry to contemporary fashion, and from Renaissance paintings to contemporary art installations. An exhibit of Scandinavian design is now on view, and the museum will also open I call it art, a comprehensive exhibition with 147 artists and artist groups currently working in Norway, and an evocative show of Norwegian 19th Century fairy tale illustrations, East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

The National Museum bills itself as the largest art museum in the Nordic region, with four spaces for temporary exhibitions, including the 425-foot-long Light Hall on top of the building that will shine above the Oslo waterfront.

The National Museum will open with the following exhibitions:

The collection6,500 works from The National Museum's collection of older, modern and contemporary art, crafts, design, and architecture will be on display in 87 galleries. The exhibition includes fashion, glassware, porcelain, furniture, architectural models, paintings and sculptures. The collection spans from the antiquity up until the present day.  

Rooms are dedicated to the museum’s significant collection of works by Edvard Munch, including The Scream, 19th century landscape paintings, royal gowns worn by Norway’s queens, and works by renowned Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn. Prominent artists on display include Harald Sohlberg, Artemisia Gentileschi, Peder Balke, Hannah Ryggen, Lucas Cranach the elder, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Ida Ekblad.

Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Golden Age. National Museum of Norway.
Dragon vase, Ming dynasty (1403–1424). Photo National Museum/Frode Larsen

I Call It ArtThe Light Hall, the large exhibition space at the top of the new museum, opens with an exhibition featuring 147 artists and groups of artists currently working in Norway. With works that address themes such as identity, belonging, nationality and democracy, I Call It Art is designed to stimulate debate about inclusion in, and exclusion from, art and society.

East of the Sun and West of the MoonThis exhibition, the first in the museum’s exhibition space for prints and drawings, will present a selection of drawings made almost 150 years ago to illustrate Norwegian folk tales. The exhibition offers a rare chance to see the fragile original drawings of trolls, and other fairy tale characters created for the first illustrated children’s books in Norway by artists Erik Werenskiold and Theodor Kittelsen.

Fredriksen Family CollectionOne large room in the new National Museum is devoted to pioneering, international works of art from the past 100 years, including works by Simone Leigh and Georgia O'Keeffe. The collection consists of artworks that Kathrine and Cecilie Fredriksen have collected in memory of their mother, Inger Astrup Fredriksen, featuring groundbreaking international art from the last 90 years to the present. Visitors can expect to see an ever-changing collection, where new works will be added including Abstract Expressionist pieces, minimalist and figurative paintings charged with political engagement.

The fall 2022 program will include a major new commission by Laure Prouvost, a solo presentation by Grayson Perry, as well as a Piranesi survey and the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2022.

Harald Sohlberg, Winter Night in the Mountains. National Museum of Norway.
Edvard Munch, "Dance of Life", 1899-1900. Photo: The National Museum / Børre Høstland

Coming up in 2023 will be exhibitions of Louise Bourgeois and Norwegian modernist Anna-Eva Bergman, followed by a Mark Rothko show focused on his paintings on paper, scheduled for 2024. 

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