Gustav Vigeland 150th anniversary 2019

Gustav Vigeland anniversary

Celebrate the 150th birthday of Oslo's world-famous sculptor.

Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943) stands out among Norwegian sculptors with his incredible imagination and productivity. He came to Oslo in his late teenage years, and kept a base here most of his life. He left behind a large number of works in the city, including one of our most visited attractions  The Vigeland Park.

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of Gustav Vigeland’s birth, making this year a great time to explore his life and art in Oslo.

 

Vigeland Sculpture Park
Vigeland Sculpture Park
Photo: VisitOSLO/Thomas Johannessen



At the heart of the celebration is a large anniversary exhibition, entitled Parallels. Gustav Vigeland and his contemporaries, at the Vigeland Museum. Vigeland’s own works are of course at the centre, but the exhibition also features guest sculptures by artists who influenced Vigeland in different ways: Rodin, Maillol, Meunier and Bourdelle.

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The Vigeland Museum and Park

Gustav Vigeland was quite a lobbyist, and persuaded the city of Oslo to build him a combined home and studio. In return, Vigeland would donate all his works to the city sometime in the future.

The building was completed in the 1920s, and Vigeland lived and worked here for the rest of his life. After Vigeland's passing the building was transformed into the Vigeland Museum, which today exhibits and preserves Vigeland's oeuvre.

Vigeland also managed to turn what originally was a commission for a fountain into a large sculpture park, the world-famous Vigeland Park. In addition to creating the park’s 200 sculptures, he was in charge of its design and architectural outline. 

The sculpture park, an evocative tribute to humankind in all its complexity, is one of Oslo and Norway's most popular attractions.

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Traces of Vigeland elsewhere in Oslo

Most of Vigeland’s works in Oslo are gathered in the Vigeland Sculpture Park and the Vigeland Museum. But you can also see three monuments created by Vigeland right in the city centre, all located near the Royal Palace.

Vigeland’s monument of mathematician Niels Henrik Abel stands on a mound in front of the palace. With a total height of 12 metres, the monument is hard to miss.

On the Royal palace's north side, you'll find Vigeland's sculpture of writer and women’s rights activist Camilla Collett. The sculpture is entitled In the storm, and depicts the older Collett alone against a fierce wind.

Vigeland’s statue of composer Rikard Nordraak is located right outside the east corner of the palace park. The statue is guarded by grinning dragons made from wrought iron, in true Vigeland style.

Click here for an interactive map of sculptures in Oslo that includes the three monuments.



Vigeland sculptures in the city centre
Vigeland sculptures in the city centre
Photo: VisitOSLO/Tord Baklund

Quick facts


Gustav Vigeland (1899–1943)

  • Norway’s most famous sculptor and wood carver

  • Studied in Oslo, Berlin, Paris and Florence, and received impulses from Rodin, renaissance artists and Antique and Egyptian sculpture.

  • Explored in particular the topics of death and the man/woman relationship.

  • Most famous for his magnum opus the Vigeland Park in Oslo, but is also behind several well-known sculpture portraits and the Nobel Peace Prize Medal design.

See also