Edvard Munch, Vincent van Gogh, and Henrik Ibsen

It was a grey, wet morning and I didn’t think we’d leave the cabin today, but I’m glad we did. One bus and one subway and voila, the Munch-museet. The line to get into the museum was long and slow. I thought maybe it was the popularity of the exhibition Van Gogh + Munch, but then we realized that the hold-up was a thorough security check between ticketing and the entrance proper. I’ve never been through a metal detector to get into a museum! Has there been an incident there in the past that spurred this? I don’t mind; as a museum employee myself I do understand the need for vigilance in protecting the art. Thankfully, the cafe sold us coffee to savor while we waited in line.

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The exhibition was an interesting juxtaposition of the lives and work of two enigmatic painters. I am not sure why Munch is best known for Skrit (The Scream) as he was a proific artist who worked in a number of styles over the years. I love seeing van Gogh’s early drawings and studies. I think it is sometimes forgotten what a good draughtsman he was and the sombre nature of his work prior to his time in sunny France.


After a rather expensive lunch in the touristy area around the Nationaltheatret (National Theater) and a walk past the Oslo Konserthus (Concert House; closed for the summer), we made it to the Ibsen Museet, which includes an interestingly modern adaptation of a historic space for museum exhibitions and a tour of the restored apartment upstairs where Henrik Ibsen spent the last years of his life and wrote his last 2 plays. The rotating exhibition space  was titled Ibsen + Lennon, showcasing Ibsen’s influence on The Beatles, John Lennon in particular (including his round eye glasses and mutton chop sideburns).


And when we left, it was still grey and wet outside. Ah, summer in Oslo!