City officials in Oslo called it “a great day” in the history of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, when they held groundbreaking ceremonies on Tuesday for the new Munch Museum set to rise next to the state Opera House on the city’s eastern waterfront.
“The Munch Museum will come to be one of Northern Europe’s most important art museums,” the director of the existing Munch Museum, Svein Olav Henrichsen, told newspaper Dagsavisen.
The groundbreaking for the new museum, set to cost NOK 2.7 billion and due to open in 2019, comes just after a highly popular exhibit pairing works of Munch and Vincent van Gogh closed after a four-month run. It broke all previous attendance records, attracting a total of 170,000 visitors when it ended on Sunday. Henrichsen is convinced that as many as 500,000 people will visit the new Munch Museum during its first year.
Site work and construction is beginning on schedule for the new museum, while it remains stalled on another major nearby project, the constrution of a new city library. That project has been plagued by foundation trouble caused by mud at its waterfront site, and by constant leakage. Dagsavisen reported that one of the building firms on the library project, Nordisk Fundamentering, withdrew last month, citing the difficulties at the site chosen by city officials.