The Vigeland Museum began in 1919, when sculptor Gustav Vigeland made an offer to Oslo Municipality to donate his works sometime in the future. Vigeland’s total body of works consisted not only of sculptures, but also woodcuts, drawings, sketches and photographs as well as letters, other writings and a personal library. In return, Vigeland wanted an atelier. The atelier could be rebuilt as a museum after his death. Even Vigeland’s flat on the third floor was preserved as a part of the museum.
The building of the would-be museum commenced in 1921, as soon as a contract between Vigeland and Oslo had been formalized. The architects were Lorentz Harboe Ree and Carl Buch, and the style was neo-classic. In 1923, Vigeland moved in, one year before the middle part and northern wing were completed. The southern wing was completed in 1930. The atelier was used by both Vigeland and other artists.
Vigeland died in 1943, during the hard economic times of World War II. The building was opened as a public museum in 1947, partially thanks to budget surplus from the municipal cinema company Oslo Kinematografer. The museum is still owned by Oslo municipality via its etat of culture, and the current museum director is Jarle Strømodden.
Immediately north of the museum is the more famous Vigeland Sculpture Park – which showcases Vigeland’s larger statues and sculptures and the Frogner Park. The highway Ring 2 runs nearby, and buses as well as Oslo Tramway provide for public transportation. The museum is within reasonable walking distance of the stations Frogner plass on the Frogner Line, and, further away, Nobels gate on the Skøyen Line (the now-closed station Halvdan Svartes gate was proximate as well).
The Vigeland Museum is the sculpture museum of Oslo. Our responsibilites and ambitions are two-folded. The Museum is dedicated to Gustav Vigeland. The main responsibilities is to take care of the heritage of Gustav Vigeland towards the public, and to preserve this for the coming generations. The majority of the Museum’s exhibition space is a presentation of Vigeland’s oeuvre.
In addition to this, the Museum’s ambition is to be the most interesting venue for presenting art within the three dimenional field. Since starting with temporary exhibitions on contemporary and modern art, the Museum has, over the recent years, become more focused on this specific kind of art, i.e. sculpture and installation, and video based art. The Museum puts an emphasis on presenting a variety of these artistic expressions, and striving to keep it on a high qualitative level.
The Vigeland Museum is the only sculpture museum in Oslo, and one of few places where students and others may encounter three dimensional art. In our workshops and guided tours we focus upon this aspect, at the same time as we tell the story behind Gustav Vigeland’s works of art.
The museum offers guided tours in English adjusted to different age groups.
Guided tours for schools are arranged Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 3pm. Duration: 40-50 minutes. Price: NOK 400-600,-. For further information, please contact the museum.
The museum does not offer guided tours in the Vigeland Park.