Art connoisseurs make it a point to visit Oslo primarily due to the National Gallery of Norway in the capital city. This art museum has a history that dates back to 1836 and houses the most extensive collections of major sculpture and paintings of famous Norwegian artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. It underwent a four-year expansion from 1903 to 1907 to provide ample exhibit areas for an expanded art collection that are now considered as national treasures of Norway. The art repository was merged with two other Norwegian museums in 2003. The resulting merger, which underscored the importance of the various forms of art in Norway, is the National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design.
Most visual art disciples, however, would still prefer to briefly call it as the National Gallery. After all, paintings was what made the museum famous. Its collections not only include the works of Norwegian painters, but also those of French, Swedish and Danish artists. The gallery houses some representative French modern paintings like those rendered by the genius brushstrokes of Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne. There are also Post- Impressionist works by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, along with collections from Swedish and Danish painters.
The longer queue of gallery viewers, however, should easily form in front of one of the four versions of “The Scream”, the most famous (and most reproduced in posters) painting of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Painted in 1893, this original was stolen in 1994 but was eventually recovered. Fifty-seven other works from Munch are displayed in the gallery including “Moonlight”, “Ashes”, and “The Dance of Life”, as well as several of Munch self-portraits.
All in all, the collections at the National Gallery of Norway may not be as extensive as those in other national museum. What sets these collections apart is that they are representative of all of European painters and their respective genre.