Conservation Norway

Oslo moves to list frieze by Munch

Sculpture park with works by Vigeland will also be protected

The Freia canteen with Munch's paintings in 2012 (Photo: Mathilde Sprovin/Byantikvaren i Oslo)

A frieze completed by Edvard Munch in 1922 is due to be listed, after the cafeteria containing the work was put up for sale. The building, which is owned by Kraft Foods Norway, contains a frieze of 12 paintings by the Norwegian artist.

“This is a very important work by Munch, and the expected change of ownership made us consider listing the piece to preserve it for the future,” says Mathilde Sprovin, the art historian at Oslo’s heritage agency responsible for the listing process, which is expected to be completed by 2013. “It is already forbidden to make changes to the canteen featuring the works.”

A park that belongs to the same company and contains sculptures by artists including Gustav Vigeland is also due to be listed. “Together, they [represent] businessmen who took care of their employees by surrounding them with art and giving them opportunities for recreation,” Sprovin says. No information about the canteen’s expected price, or interested bidders, has been disclosed.

Before working on the canteen, Munch decorated the auditorium of Oslo’s university with the works Alma Mater and Solen (the sun), both 1911-16. According to Sprovin, the artist planned more works for a second room of the canteen, but these were never made.

Freia canteen, 1934 (Photo: Kraft Food)
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