August 10, 2022

Paintings missing after Oslo bombing

Some buildings damaged in the attack contained works by artists
including Munch and Dolven
by: Clemens Bomsdorf From issue 227, September 2011, The Art Newspaper

Oslo, Norway
-- Concern is mounting about the fate of large numbers of works of art owned by Norwegian government ministries or lent to them by the Nasjonalmuseet (National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design) and Public Art Norway (Koro), following the terrorist ­attack in Oslo on 22 July. The buildings damaged in the bombing contained works by artists including Munch, Christian Krohg and Anne Katrine Dolven.

Some 43 pieces loaned by the Nasjonalmuseet are missing, including works by Krohg, Dolven and Jakob Weidemann. A further 60 were undamaged. “It is too early to give an overview,” said a spokeswoman for Statsbygg, the government authority responsible for the buildings.

Krohg’s painting I Leden, 1892, was damaged when several pieces of glass from shattered windows struck the canvas. “We will be able to fix it, but it will take lots of time,” said Kari Greve, the head of conservation at the Nasjonalmuseet.

Less severely damaged was Lise Nicolaisen’s Sne, 1969. Both paintings were on loan to the ministry of finance, along with 24 undamaged works, ­including Munch’s Vinter ved Fjorden, 1915. A large relief by Carl Nesjar, based on sketches by Picasso, on the building which houses the ministry of education, appears to be unharmed, but the fate of a smaller relief in the foyer is unknown.

Of the 93 works installed by Koro, the government’s agency for art in public spaces, the whereabouts of 76 are unknown. Ten of the missing works were installed in the areas closest to the blast.

It remains too dangerous to enter some of the damaged buildings, owing to their possible instability and asbestos.