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The Permanent Collection

150th anniversary

06. Feb 2015 - 21. Feb 2016

Stavanger Art Museum celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of Den faste samling (the Permanent Collection). Using Lars Hertervig’s colour palette as a starting point, the museum walls have been painted chrome yellow, Prussian blue and sinoper. Here you can see a selection of paintings and works on paper from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. The collection’s oldest works are shown alongside new acquisitions of older art. The Permanent Collection’s history began on 11 February 1865, when Jens Z. Kielland became the chairman of Stavanger kunstforening (Stavanger Art Society). Jens Z. Keilland was an amateur painter and the father of the famous painter Kitty Kielland and the realist-novelist Alexander Kielland. The society’s main goal was to establish an art collection: 

§ 1 The Art Society has the Goal of awakening an interest in Art, thus to establish a Society with its own Art Collection.

During the 1800s, the society acquired works by artists such as Lars Hertervig, Kitty Kielland, Hans Gude, Olaf Lange, Knut Baade, Harriet Backer, Carl Sundt-Hansen and Christiane Schreiber. The society had no permanent location until 1893, when it started sharing premises with Stavanger Museum. By 1915, however, the museum needed all the space in its building itself, so the art society built a temporary structure on its own property on Madlaveien. The building standing there today was built ten years later.

In 1915 the Permanent Collection contained 45 artworks. By 1935 its holdings had increased to 165 works, and by 1966 it had 354 works. The Permanent Collection was built primarily through gifts and purchases that were funded by endowments. In 1966 the regional government took over responsibility for the collection, and it came to be organized under the foundation Stavanger Faste Galleri (Stavanger Permanent Gallery). After 1966, this art gallery and the art society became two separate institutions, each with its own leadership and board of directors.

In 1990 Stavanger Permanent Gallery was renamed Rogaland kunstmuseum (Rogaland Museum of Fine Arts), then in 2010Stavanger kunstmuseum (Stavanger Art Museum). When the art museum moved into its current purpose-built premises in the park alongside Mosvann Lake, its collection consisted of 1,429 works. Today Stavanger Art Museum administers 2,500 works. Most significant in the oldest part of the collection are the works by Lars Hertervig. This is in fact Norway’s largest Hertervig collection. Also of great significance is the steadily increasing number of paintings by Kitty Kielland.

Photo: Oddbjørn Løken Aarstad