Discover Harald Sohlberg at the Norwegian National Museum

TEXT: INGRID OPSTAD | PHOTOS © MIR / STATSBYGG

This autumn, you can experience the important exhibition Harald Sohlberg – Infinite Landscapes, at the National Museum in Oslo. Sohlberg is one of Norway’s most famous artists alongside Edvard Munch. Displaying some of his most renowned works, this will be a truly unmissable event and a great opportunity to visit the museum before it relocates and expands. The new joint building planned for opening in 2020, is set to signal the museum’s role as one of Europe’s leading venues for art and culture.

The National Museum holds, preserves, exhibits, and promotes public knowledge about Norway’s most extensive collections of art, architecture and design. With its current exhibition venues in Oslo, the National Gallery and the National Museum – Architecture, the museum shows permanent exhibitions of works from its own collections as well as temporary exhibitions that incorporate works loaned from elsewhere.

Infinite Landscapes

The highly anticipated exhibition at the National Gallery, Harald Sohlberg – Infinite Landscapes, shows the range and ambiguity of Sohlberg’s art. The famous Norwegian painter always used the landscape as his principal theme and focused on parts of Norway that had attracted little interest among other artists of his time. With a mysterious and thought-provoking expression, his rich colours appeal to our intuitions and emotions. His paintings show concrete places, but also the scenes of the mind, of thought and eternity. “We expect it to be well received by visitors, and a big success,” says marketing adviser Jøran Pecher.

Norway’s most beloved painting on display

The extensive exhibition brings together works from throughout Sohlberg’s career, and it examines his working methods while showing how he developed and implemented his ideas. On display are 60 paintings, along with drawings, sketches, print works and photographs including the artist’s most famous works, such as the iconic Winter Night in the Mountains.

The painting was chosen as Norway’s national painting through a referendum on the Norwegian national radio channel NRK in 1995. “When the Norwegian public was asked which painting was its most beloved one, most of them actually said Winter Night in the Mountains, and not Scream by Munch, as many of us would have thought,” Pecher recalls.

At the beginning of 2019, the exhibition will travel to the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London and the Museum Wiesbaden in Germany. “This marks the 150th anniversary of Sohlberg’s birth, and will be the first time his art has been presented to such a broad European audience,” says Pecher.

A new venue in the cityscape

2020 will see the opening of a new National Museum building. The museum is currently being built at the site of the former Vestbanen railway station in central Oslo, right on the City Hall Square overlooking the Oslofjord. Pecher is expecting the new venue to have a big impact on the capital and its cultural scene. “It will become the largest cultural centre in the Nordic region, with around 6,000 works of art on display in the permanent exhibition. A totally unique arena for art and the public, and we expect to double audience figures, mainly because of the location,” Pecher explains. Designed by architecture firm Kleihues + Schuwerk, the new venue in the cityscape will become a rewarding and inspiring place to be.

Works from all of the museum’s current areas will meet and interact in new contexts. “We will have older and modern art, architecture, design, craft, and contemporary art in one large venue, giving the public the best of Norwegian, as well as international art, all under one roof,” says Pecher, and adds: “It will be like a historical journey from the Classical antiquity through to modern times.”

The new building will feature a publicly accessible roof terrace with a spectacular view of Oslo City Hall, Akershus Fortress, the Aker Brygge neighbourhood, and the Oslofjord. It will also hold a beautiful art hall with a glass facade, the biggest in Norway, which will light up at night.

A meeting place for culture

With a vision to create new generations of art enthusiasts, the National Museum aims to be a great art venue and an important place for the public of all ages. “The new venue will entail even more opportunities to meet up with friends, family, and colleagues over a coffee, a bite of food or through cultural events, festivals or concerts,” Pecher concludes.

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Harald Sohlberg – Infinite Landscapes:

28 September, 2018 – 13 January, 2019, at the National Gallery.

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