Oslo’s Art Museums – The Booming Norwegian Art Scene

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 Oslo’s Art Museums – The Booming Norwegian Art Scene

For a city of Oslo’s size (population of about 650,000), Oslo has a surprisingly large number of museums, whereof many are of the highest interest for a traveller with a fascination for the arts. Occasionally it almost feels like the city wants to compensate what it’s not offering in architectural highlights – because to be fair, it’s not as picturesque to walk around here as let’s say the other Scandinavian capitals of Stockholm and Copenhagen – by showing you what it has behind the walls: after all, it’s the inside that matters, right?

What more, many of the museums are located very close to each other, so if you would feel like having a marathon weekend of museum visits – maybe escaping the occasionally pretty grim Norwegian weather – you’re in the right spot. Since Oslo is not exactly a cheap destination, museum prices are accordingly. Therefore if you know you’re going to have an active stay and see more museums during your visit, it’s advisable to purchase the ‘Oslo Pass‘ – coming in 24, 48 and 72 hours versions (290/425/535 NOK – that is € 35/51/64) – which gives you both discounts on other attractions and covers your local transportation and museum entrance fees (for selected museums, not all, keep that in mind).

But what’s there to focus on? It goes without saying that the main museum for the art lovers is the Munch Museum. However, it’s probably good for you to know that not all of Munch’s works in Oslo are to be found here: many are in fact at the National Gallery, where you’ll find many other highlights as well.

Oslo’s National MuseumNasjonalmuseet – is by far the biggest of the city and it covers in fact several venues under one umbrella: the already mentioned National Gallery, but also the the Museum of Contemporary Art housed in the same building, the National Museum – Architecture, and the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design. If that’s not enough, a new joint building is planned for 2017 under the name of The National Museum at Vestbanen, a project that promises something extraordinary for the Oslo cultural scene.

For the fans of modern art – like us – the most exciting spot to visit is the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, in new fantastic premises since 2012. And then there’s DogA – The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture and a museum we feel especially excited about: the  International Museum of Children’s Art. And there are so many more, that it almost feels overwhelming.

So let’s embark on a proper tour of Oslo’s art museum world.

 

The Munch Museum

The Munch Museum’s collection is in fact based on the donation of the artist himself and it consists of a large number of paintings, drawings and graphical prints of a great variety. Edvard Munch naturally has a unique position in Norway and as a pioneer in expressionism he’s part of the world heritage. The museum has it as a high priority to constantly change the exhibitions and in that way presents the variety in his production.

Oslo’s Art Museums - VisitOSLO/Gunnar Strøm

Oslo’s Munch Museum – Courtesy of: VisitOSLO/Gunnar Strøm

There are audio tours in Norwegian and in English on offer and a permanent documentary exhibition is also on show. Movies about Edvard Munch’s life and art are screened during the museum’s opening hours.

A finger of warning: just don’t expect to find everything from the artist’s oeuvre under this roof: a large part of his works are in fact in the National Gallery (more below), thus if you’d like to get the full picture, you better visit both.

Address: Munch Museet | Tøyengata 53 | 0578 Oslo | Tel. +47 (0)23 49 35 00 | E-Mail: info.munch@munchmuseet.no

Opening Hours: Wednesday – Monday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Tuesday closed

Admission Fees:

Adults: NOK 95.– | Reduced: 50.– (Senior/Student)
Free for children under the age of 16
Groups of over 10: NOK 50.– per person
Family ticket: NOK 110 .–

Website: www.munchmuseet.no

Public Transportation:

  • Metro: > Tøyen Munch-museet
  • City centre: 1.5 km walking distance

 

Astrup Fearnley Museum

On September 29th 2012 the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art moved into a brand new building in the developing area of the Tjuvholmen neighbourhood. The new museum’s building is the creation of the Italian architect Renzo Piano. The museum consists of two buildings: one for its own collection and one for rotating exhibitions.

Thanks to the move, the Astrup Fearnley Museum now has the possibility to permanently showcase its extensive permanent collections, with works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Charles Ray, Robert Gober, Bruce Nauman and Cindy Sherman.

The new location at the tip of the Tjuvholmen peninsula is also stunning, with the Oslo Fjord spreading out for the visitor and the Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park being the next door neighbour.

Address: Astrup Fearnley Museum | Strandpromenaden 2 | 0252 Oslo | Tel. +47 (0)22 93 60 60 | E-Mail: info@fearnleys.no

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Friday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursdays open until 7 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Mondays closed

Admission Fees:

Adults: NOK 100.–
Reduced: 80.– (Senior) / 60.–(Student)
Free for children under the age of 16

Website: www.afmuseet.no

Public Transportation:

  • Bus: No.54 > Bryggetorget
  • City centre: 1 km walking distance

 

The National Gallery

So you are wandering the streets of Oslo to find Munch’s “The Scream”? This is where you’re going to find it. Besides that masterpiece, the National Gallery houses Norway’s largest public collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures, among others paintings by Cézanne and Manet.

Oslo’s Art Museums: Oslo Nasjonalgalleriet

The National Gallery – Courtesy of: VisitOSLO/Børre Høstland

The museum’s exhibitions have a general focus on classic art with a special emphasis on Norwegian artists. It should be kept in mind that the National Gallery is part of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design.

Address: Nasjonalgalleriet | Universitetsgata 13 | 0164 Oslo | Tel. +47 (0)21 98 20 00 | E-Mail: info@nasjonalmuseet.no

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursdays open until 7 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Mondays closed

Admission Fees:

Adults: NOK 50.–
Reduced: 30.– (Senior) / 30.–(Children)

Website: www.nationalmuseum.no

Public Transportation:

  • Tram: No.11/17/18 >Tullinløkka
  • City centre: 0 km walking distance

 

The National Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art has been established in 1990 as part of Oslo’s National Museum. The main focus of this museum branch is evenly divided between the temporary exhibitions of visiting works and the works from its own collections. The permanent collection of contemporary art contains some 5,000 works by both Norwegian and international artists from the time period after the Second World War until today, covering a broad range of genres: paintings, prints, drawings, photography, sculptures, objects, installations and video-art.

Oslo_Contemporary_Art_Museum

Oslo Museum of Contemporary Art – Courtesy of: VisitOSLO/Børre Høstland

The permanent collection also includes three permanent installations: The sculpture Richard Serra’s Shaft, Per Inge Bjørlo’s Inner Room V and The Garbage Man: The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away by Ilya Kabakov.

Address: Museet for Samtidskunst | Bankplassen 4 | 0151 Oslo | Tel. +47 (0)21 98 20 00 | E-Mail: info@nasjonalmuseet.no

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursdays open until 7 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Mondays closed

Admission Fees:

Adults: NOK 50.–
Reduced: 30.– (Senior) / 30.–(Student/Children)
Free on Sundays

Website: www.nasjonalmuseet.no

Public Transportation:

  • Tram: No.12 > Christiania torv
  • Bus: No.60 > Bankplassen
  • City centre: 0 km walking distance

 

National Museum – Architecture

The ‘National Museum – Architecture’ is a space for the exploration of both contemporary and historical architectural themes. The presentation relies upon models, drawings and photographic material. The main building, designed by Christian Heinrich Grosch, was built in 1830 as a division office for the Norwegian Bank and opened as the museum in 2008.

Oslo’s Art Museums: Oslo Museum Arkitektur

The National Museum – Architecture – Courtesy of: VisitOSLO/Knut Øystein Nerdrum

English-language guided tours are available during the high season (July and August) on Sundays at 1 pm.

 

Address: Nasjonalmuseet – Arkitektur | Bankplassen 3 | 0102 Oslo | Tel. +47 (0)21 98 20 00 | E-Mail: info@nasjonalmuseet.no

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursdays open until 7 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Mondays closed

Admission Fees:

Adults: NOK 50.–
Reduced: 30.– (Senior) / 30.–(Student/Children)
Free on Sundays

Website: www.nasjonalmuseet.no

Public Transportation:

  • Bus: No.60 > Bankplassen
  • City centre: 0 km walking distance

 

Museum of Decorative Arts and Design

The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design displays Norwegian and international applied art, fashion and design from the 7th century to the present. The museum was founded in 1876 and is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe.

The museum features two permanent exhibitions entitled ‘Design & Art 1905-2005’ and ‘STYLE 1100-1905’ alongside a range of varied and interesting regular temporary exhibitions.

Oslo’s Art Museums: Oslo Nasjonalmuseet

Oslo, Nasjonalmuseet – Courtesy of VisitOSLO/Børre Høstland

The museum’s permanent collection is very extensive: there are some 35,000 items, spanning from antique Greek vases and East Asian art to items depicting European style history. The focus is more on historical items than those from modern days, thus if you are looking for a contemporary collection you might get disappointed.

Guided tours in English are available during the high season (July and August) on Sundays at 1 pm.

 

Address: Kunstindustrimuseet | St. Olavs gate 1 | 0165 Oslo | Tel. +47 (0)21 98 20 00 | E-Mail: info@nasjonalmuseet.no

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Friday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursdays open until 7 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Mondays closed

Admission Fees:

Adults: NOK 50.–
Reduced: 30.– (Senior) / 30.–(Student/Children)
Free on Sundays

Website: www.nasjonalmuseet.no

Public Transportation:

  • Bus: No.37 > Nordahl Bruns gate
  • City centre: 0 km walking distance

 

The Vigeland Sculpture Park

Vigelandsparken is one of Oslo’s free attractions and also one of the country’s most visited attractions, with yearly visitors numbers exceeding the 1 million.

Oslo’s Art Museums VisitOSLO/Erik Tresse

Vigelandsparken in Oslo – Courttesy of VisitOSLO/Erik Tresse

This unique sculpture park is the life work of the sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943). Here you’ll find more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and cast iron and you can come with rain or sunshine, the park is open all year round at all times. The sculptor himself was also responsible for the design and architectural outline of the park.

For the real fan – and if you’d like to learn more about the artist – you can also visit the Vigeland Museum (see further below).

 

Address: Vigelandsparken | Frognerparken | 0268 Oslo

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Admission Fees: Free entrance

Website: www.vigeland.museum.no

Public Transportation:

  • Tram: No.12 > Vigelandsparken
  • City centre: 2 km walking distance

 

The Vigeland Museum

The Vigeland Museum is all about the Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943). The museum is located in the former home of the sculptor, a building considered as one of the finest examples of neo-classical architecture in Norway.

The collection comprises the sculptor’s early works, portraits and monuments, as well as plaster models for the sculptures in Vigeland Park. The museum also shows the artist’s approach to his creative work. There are contemporary art exhibitions hosted in the museum on a regular basis.

 

Address: Vigeland-museet | Nobels gate 32 | 0268 Oslo | Tel. +47 (0)23 49 37 00 | E-Mail: postmottak.vigeland@vigeland.museum.no

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Admission Fees: 

Adults: NOK 60.–
Reduced: 30.– (Senior) / 30.–(Student/Children)
Children under 7 free

Website: Wigeland Museumww.vigeland.museum.no

Public Transportation:

  • Tram: No.12 > Frogner plass
  • Bus: No.20 > Frogner plass
  • City centre: 2 km walking distance

 

The International Museum of Children’s Art

If you’re looking for something very different from what you can normally see, this is probably the place you want to come to. This is where you can see art – and the world – from the children’s perspective.

The museum’s collection contains drawings, paintings, textiles, sculptures and much more from children of 18o countries: that means a very deep artist pool. A finger of warning: a good part of the visitors are children, just like the artists, thus it might get loud – but then again, it can’t be much worse than a tour-bus invading your favourite exhibition, can it?

Address: The International Museum of Children’s Art | Lille Frøens vei 4 | 0371 Oslo | Tel. +47 (0)22 46 85 73 | E-Mail: info@barnekunst.no

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Thursday 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Mondays and Fridays closed

Admission Fees: 

Adults: NOK 60.–
Reduced: 40.– (Senior) / 40.–(Student/Children)

Website: www.barnekunst.no

Public Transportation:

  • Metro: No.1 > Frøen
  • City centre: 3 km walking distance

 

DogA – Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture

DogA, the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture, was established in 2004 as a meeting place for design, architecture and related subject areas. The two organisations behind it, Norsk Form and the Norwegian Design Council, are also housed in this old transformer station. The building itself was awarded the National Building Prize in 2006.

Oslo’s Art Museums: DogA in Oslo - Courtesy of DogA/Niklas Lello

DogA in Oslo – Courtesy of DogA/Niklas Lello

DogA also provides a scene for large and small architecture and design exhibitions, conferences and meetings. There’s also a well-equipped design shop on the premises.

 

Address: DogA Norsk Design- og Arkitektursenter | Hausmanns gate 16 | 0182 Oslo | Tel. +47 (0)23 29 28 70 | E-Mail: info@doga.no

Opening Hours:

Monday, Tuesday and Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission Fees: Free entrance

Website: www.barnekunst.no

Public Transportation:

  • Hausmanns gate transport stop
  • City centre: 1 km walking distance

 

Henie Onstad Art Centre

This museum at Høvikodden is some 15 minutes west of Oslo city centre. The museum was opened in 1968, made possible by a generous donation from the art collectors Sonja Henie and Niels Onstad.

The museum hosts temporary exhibitions alongside the ‘Henie Onstad collection‘, which includes works by Picasso and Matisse among others. Sonja Henie was a famous figure skater who won a lot of prizes, medals and trophies, which you’ll find here too.

 

Address: Henie Onstad Art Centre | Sonja Henies vei 31 | 1311 Høvikodden | Tel. +47 (0)67 80 48 80 | E-Mail: post@hok.no

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Monday closed

Admission Fees:

Adults: NOK 80.–
Reduced: 60.– (Senior) / 50.–(Student) / 30.–(Children)
Groups of 10+ NOK 55.–
Children under 7 free

Website: www.hok.no

Public Transportation:

  • Bus: No.151 > Høvikodden
  • City centre: 12 km