Roses were laid outside the entrance to Norway’s National Gallery on Sunday, when it closed its doors after displaying the country’s major paintings since 1882. Around 100,000 works of art will be moved out, stored and then re-hung in the new National Museum that’s due to open in 2020.
The closing at least 18 months before the new museum opens has disappointed many art fans, drawn criticism and moved some to tears. Petter Olsen, the wealthy shipping heir who famously sold his version of Edvard Munch’s Scream in 2012, was on the verge of tears himself when he told state broadcaster NRK that he just can’t understand why the National Gallery needed to be replaced at all.
“This building has been the frame around all art, for generations,” Olsen told NRK. “I wanted my children to be able to experience our nation’s cultural heritage here.”
The new museum will consolidate the National Gallery, the Museum of Applied Arts (Kunstindustrimuseet) and contemporary art museum that already have closed, and the national architecture museum intp the new location on Oslo’s western waterfront. Museum officials claim it will take time to pack and move all of the National Gallery’s art, while promising that new artistic projects will move into the National Gallery’s central location as soon as the building is renovated. That’s supposed to be completed by 2021