Plans to build a new Munch Museum on Oslo’s waterfront may have been put on hold by the city council, with no final decision in sight (The Art Newspaper, December 2011, p20), but a Norwegian collector has been given the go-ahead by politicians to open a private museum dedicated to the artist. Petter Olsen, a member of a wealthy shipping family, who inherited a collection of Munch’s work, is selling his version of The Scream, 1893, at Sotheby’s New York (est $80m) in May to raise funds.
Olsen plans to open the museum in a manor house that he owns in Vestby, south-west of Oslo, next year. Munch used to work in a building nearby. Olsen’s father started collecting Munch’s work in the early 20th century.
Olsen first announced his intentions in 2006. He told the Norwegian media: “It gives Vestby the possibility of positioning itself as a Munch municipality during next year’s 150th anniversary of his birth.” Olsen says he will pay for the design of the museum and hopes to get financial support from the local authority to help cover its running costs.
Petter Olsen won a bitter lawsuit against his brother, Fred, in 1997 over parts of their father’s Munch collection, which was divided between them. Fred Olsen sold eight paintings from his half of the collection for £17m in 2005 at Sotheby’s.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Collector to sell version of The Scream to open private Munch museum'