It’s a worthwhile journey to the north-eastern suburb of Tøyen in Oslo to visit the Munch Museum in Oslo. Dedicated to the life and works of Edvard Munch (1863-1944), the painter and graphic artist who fathered German Expressionism.
The gallery holds approx. 1 150 paintings, close to 18 000 prints depicting more than 700 different motifs, 7 700 drawings and watercolors as well as 13 sculptures. In addition, there are nearly 500 printing plates, 2 240 books, notebooks, documents, photographs, art tools, accessories, letters and pieces of furniture, which were bequeathed to the City of Oslo by his sister Inger Munch.
The Much Museum in Oslo
Edvard Munch himself initiated a discussion about a future Munch Museum with Jens Thiis, the director of the National Gallery, back in 1927. In the mid-1950s the Oslo City Council decided to build the museum in Tøyen in eastern Oslo. In May 1963, a hundred years after the artist’s birth, the museum opened in architects Gunnar Fougner and Einar Myklebust’s – by contemporary standards – very modern building.
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His Skrik (The Scream) is Scandinavia’s most reproduced dork of art, famously stolen in 2004 then recovered two years later.
It was actually painted in two versions. The earlier, from 1893, is in the National Gallery of Oslo. What appears to be a somewhat later version hangs here. More important for the promoting and spreading the image was the lithograph version from 1895, which is on display in the graphic section.
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The new Much Museum
An increasing number of visitors come to the museum and additional space is needed in order to exhibit more of the collection. The Munch Museum has long outgrown its current premises. In May 2013, after years of debate, the Oslo City Council voted to build a new Munch Museum in Bjørvika in the Oslo’s harbor area, close to the Opera. Spanish architects Herreros Arquitectos won the design competition and the new museum will be completed in 2019.
Feature image (on top): The Sun, 1909 by Edvard Munch is perhaps the greatest achievement of modern mural painting. Symmetrically structured, it occupied the enormous front space of Oslo University’s assembly hall, dominating through size, unmitigated frontality, and power of imagery.
The Munch Museum in Oslo, written by Tor Kjolberg