Next year is 150th birthday of Gustav Vigeland and it will be celebrated in several places. There will be exhibitions, coins, own stamp and great birthday party.
Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943) is Norway’s largest sculptor, most known as the creator of the Vigeland Park in Oslo. The park contains about 200 of his sculptures, among the best known are the Sinnataggen, the Monolith and the Life Wheel. The park has around one million visitors every year.
Vigeland jubliee 2019 will celebrate the man behind Norway’s largest tourist attraction. We also want to highlight the diversity in Vigeland’s production. Vigeland was among others a recognized portrait artist, and made some of the country’s finest monuments, says conservator Guri Skuggen at the Vigeland Museum. She is also the project manager for the anniversary year.
The Vigeland Museum is run by the City of Oslo, which manages Vigeland’s art. In total, the municipality has granted NOK 5.8 million for the planning and implementation of the anniversary.
The biggest event in the anniversary year will be a great exhibition in the Vigeland Museum, which opens on Gustav Vigeland’s birthday on 11 April. For the exhibition, the museum will borrow sculptures from other institutions in Norway and abroad.
Among other things, there will be borrowed sculptures from French museums by Auguste Rodin, Constantin Meunier and Antoine Bourdelle, who all worked simultaneously with Vigeland.
– We have been concerned with getting works by artists we know Vigeland was concerned about and who were great at the same time with him, says Skuggen.
It is also a goal to show how important Vigeland was in his time, she emphasizes.
– He was not as big in the world as Munch, but it was also related to the fact that he was not a driving force to make himself known outside Norway. But the times he exhibited abroad, his work was noticed. He posed, among other things, with Auguste Rodin, and he was considered one of the most important sculptors in his time, says Skuggen.
The entire 1st floor of the Vigeland Museum will be dedicated to the anniversary exhibition, which will last until September 15th.
– We hope that the many tourists who visit Vigeland park will also take a tour of the anniversary exhibition, says the conservator.
The Vigeland Museum is close to the park and contains art from the entire artist’s career, his studio and apartment.
In the anniversary year, a hiking exhibition will also be around the country. This is a collaboration between the Vigeland Museum and the National Museum. The exhibition consists of 21 sculptures, 15 in bronze and six in plaster, and opens in Stavanger March 23 next year.
The exhibition has been titled “The Anxiety Stands on the Sofa”, and will in 2019 also appear in Buen Kulturhus in Mandal and the Art Museum Kube in Ålesund. In 2020, it will be displayed at the Romsdal Museum in Molde, Sogn and Fjordane Museum in Førde, Alta Museum, Nordlandsmuseet in Bodø and Haugesund Picture Gallery.
– Through the exhibition, the public is invited to reflect on Vigeland’s significance and relevance today, as it interferes with existential issues such as loneliness, turmoil, longing and excitement, writes the National Museum on its website.
Coins and postage stamp
Next year there will also be a Vigeland exhibition in the Trondheim Art Museum (TKM), and a large Vigeland exhibition at the Thielska Gallery in Stockholm.
There is also a special anniversary stamp, and Norges Bank has decided to issue a 20-krone circulation coin with a special letter to mark the anniversary.
The actual opening of the anniversary takes place in Oslo City Hall on April 10, while there will be a big birthday party in Vigeland Park in June. The program here is not yet ready, but there will be concerts and children’s events.