Edvard Munch: Rolf Stenersen. Oil on canvas, 1925-26. Photo © Munchmuseet

It Might be Beautiful The Art Collector Rolf Stenersen

Who was the financier Rolf Stenersen and what drove him to donate two unique art collections to the public? For the first time, the two collections, owned by Oslo and Bergen respectively, are shown side by side in an exhibition that sheds new light on Stenersen's unique significance for Norwegian and European art.


Floor 9
Until 14.08.2022

In 1936, the Norwegian financier Rolf Stenersen (1899–1978) donated his first art collection to the City of Oslo. This collection included works by Edvard Munch, as well as by younger Norwegian artists. Thirty-five years later, in 1971, he donated a new collection, this time of more recent European art, to the City of Bergen. Now, for the very first time, Stenersen’s two unique art collections will be displayed together. 

In this exhibition, which will be displayed first at MUNCH and then at KODE in Bergen, we focus on Stenersen as art collector, patron, author, art writer, institution builder and cultural celebrity. What was he like as a person? What motivated him to collect art and then donate not just one, but two collections to the public? Two collections that he had built up with exceptional shrewdness, boldness and passionate enthusiasm. Stenersen! is divided into eight sections, each of which positions Stenersen’s collecting activities within broader contexts such as literature, art, financial investment and other societal factors. From this starting point, we will get closer to Stenersen and shed new light on the collections he gave to the Norwegian public and their unique significance for Norwegian and European art and art history.  

From the exhibition

Pablo Picasso: Sylvette (1953) © Succession Pablo Picasso/BONO 2022. Photo: Dag Fosse / KODE
Edvard Munch: Rolf Stenersen. Oil on canvas, 1925-26. Photo © Munchmuseet
Rolf Nesch: Sildefiske. Graphic. Monotype(?), 1938. Photo: Halvor Bjørngård © Rolf Nesch/BONO 2022
Arne Ekeland, Boys. Oil on canvas, 1945. © Arne Ekeland / BONO 2022. Photo: Richard Jeffries
Ludvig Karsten: Den store eken. Oil on canvas, 1923. Photo © Munchmuseet

    The exhibition is made by

  • Project team

    Curator MUNCH: Kari Brandtzæg
    Curator KODE: Frode Sandvik
    Concept Developer Learning: Christin Fonn Tømte
    Project Manager: Mathis Junker Gran

    Text Editor: Rob Young
    Registrar: Nina Nordli
    Installation Registrar: Charlotte B. Lafond, Margrete Molid Kvæl
    Head of Marketing: Tone Brunner
    Technical Manager: Lasse A. Baklien
    Technical Producer: Benny Lund
    AV Consultant: Richard Alexandersson
    Chief Light Technician: Tara Fox
    Art Technician Management: Timothy Brignall
    Art Technicians: Michelle Bonnefoy, Matthias Förster, Tomas Einarsson, Andrea Galiazzo, Calle Segelberg, Lina Norell, Audar Kantun, Matias Kiiil Halvorsen, Johan Øvergård
    Painting Conservator: Jin Strand Ferrer
    Paper Conservator: Emma Chan
    Sculpture Conservator: Joanna Hench
    Security: Marie Kristine Skorstad
    Photo: Ove Kvavik

  • Design & Architecture

    Exhibition Design: Haltenbanken
    Sound Design: Tacobitch
    Light Design: Lightbureau

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