Oslo’s Upcoming Must-Visit Attraction

A sleek new waterfront museum dedicated to Norway’s most famous and influential artist is set to open in October.

Left to right: the Munch museum at twilight; a version of The Scream thought to date to 1910. (Photos: Ivar Kvaal; courtesy of Munch museum)

Edvard Munch conceived The Scream in 1892 while on a sunset walk along the slopes of Ekeberg Hill above Oslo. Set against a lurid sky reflected in the waters of the city’s namesake fjord, it is the ultimate portrait of existential angst and the work for which the Norwegian expressionist is best remembered. Wracked by mental anguish at the time, Munch could certainly not have foreseen that The Scream would go on to become the second most recognizable image in art history after Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, nor indeed that the views from Ekeberg would one day include one of the largest single-artist museums in the world — a shimmering 13-story venue dedicated to his extensive oeuvre.

Opening on October 22, the Munch museum is the new home of the thousands of artworks and personal items that Munch bequeathed to Oslo upon his death in 1944. A replacement for the aging Munchmuseet across town, the building stands in the revitalized port district of Bjørvika, just across from the glacier-inspired Oslo Opera House. It’s a waterfront landmark in its own right, with a leaning top section and an undulating facade of perforated, partially translucent aluminum panels — the work of Spanish architecture firm Estudio Herreros. Inside, eleven galleries display a wide-ranging collection of the artist’s paintings, drawings, sculptures, woodcuts, and other creations, including several iterations of The Scream and large-scale murals like The Sun. Visitors can also expect an events program filled with performances and art talks, as well as exhibitions by contemporary artists who have been influenced by Munch (Tracey Emin’s first major show in Scandinavia will headline the museum’s inauguration.) A rooftop terrace, meanwhile, provides spectacular views over the Oslo Fjord — an outlook that even Munch would surely have appreciated.

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Left to right: Edvard Munch’s 1926 Self-Portrait with Palette; Munch museum signage. (Photos courtesy of Munch museum)

This article originally appeared in the September/November 2021 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Munch on the Move”).

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