One of Europe’s leading art collectors, Norwegian venture capitalist Christen Sveaas, is showing part of his collection at his Bagatelle restaurant in Oslo. Twenty works by artists including Marina Abramovic, Ed Ruscha and Damien Hirst are hung in the restaurant, which reopened last month after renovation. “Here people can get an impression of my collection as the selection mirrors the whole,” he told The Art Newspaper.
Sveaas, who mainly focuses on acquiring contemporary art, began his collection in the late 1980s with works by Martin Kippenberger. “I do not buy many older works by Norwegian artists—only if something very special is coming on the market,” he said. He wouldn’t disclose how many works he has, however, he is believed to have Norway’s second largest private collection, behind that of Hans Rasmus Astrup, the shipping magnate who owns the private Astrup Fearnley museum in Oslo. The first work visitors encounter when entering the restaurant is 3.3m-high sculpture: Bolt, 2007, by Tony Cragg. Marina Abramovic’s 2010 video Portrait with a Golden Mask hangs behind the bar. An Abramovic photographic work hangs in the main dining room along with paintings by Hirst and Ruscha. In the adjacent bistro—“there the food is less pricey and so is the art,” said Sveaas—nine works are on display, including five by David LaChapelle.
Sveaas said the selection will change once a year, with the choices made by himself and his collection director, William Flatmo. He also plans to make other works available to other institutions on short- or long-term loans. “My collection has become rather big and this is a chance to make it more accessible to the public,” he said.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Collector hangs his art by the hors d’oeuvres'