It might be pretty small as far as capital cities go, but Oslo is still a mighty destination for art lovers. You’ve got the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, with its prize works by Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman and Damien Hirst. There’s the Nasjonalgalleriet, whose vast collection of 42,000 works includes Monets, van Goghs, Picassos and a whole bunch of paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters. And now, more than a decade after plans first got underway, the city is home to a brand-new museum dedicated to Norway’s most famous artist: Edvard ‘The Scream’ Munch.
Replacing a much smaller museum that existed on the site since 1963, the new Munchmuseet building towers over Oslo’s waterfront on the Bjørvika bay. Designed by Spanish architectural firm Estudio Herreros, the 60-metre-tall building features 11 exhibition halls spanning 13 floors in total.
After the launch was pushed back due to the pandemic, the museum finally opened to the public last week. It’s one of the largest galleries in the world dedicated to just one artist, with more than 220 works by the Expressionist painter on display. These include early works, watercolours and lithographs from the museum’s enormous collection of nearly 27,000 Munch artefacts, as well as one version of his iconic pair of paintings, ‘The Scream’, whose twin can be found literally just down the road at the Nasjonalgalleriet.
Visitors to the gallery can also take in temporary exhibitions by a range of Norwegian and international artists influenced by Munch’s work, with Tracey Emin’s ‘The Loneliness of the Soul’ paying a visit as one of the inaugural exhibitions. Featuring works by the Turner Prize-winning British artist displayed alongside 16 pieces by Munch, the exhibition outlines Emin’s lifelong fascination with the Norwegian painter, whom she credits with inspiring her decision to become an artist.
So, what do you reckon? Fancy getting up close and personal with the twentieth century’s most haunting portrayal of the anxieties of modern man? Or maybe just casting your eye over a few pleasant sketches instead? The museum is open now, so head over to its website and start planning your visit now.
And if you’re visiting Norway next year? You could stay in the world’s first energy-positive hotel while you’re there.
Plus: check out this epic new Frank Gehry-designed arts centre in Provence.