It was established in 1842 following a parliamentary decision from 1836. Originally located in the Royal Palace, Oslo, it got its own museum building in 1882, designed by Heinrich Ernst and Adolf Schirmer. Former names of the museum include Den norske stats sentralmuseum for billedkunst and from 1903 to 1920 Statens Kunstmuseum. Directors include Jens Thiis (1908–1941), Sigurd Willoch (1946–1973), Knut Berg (1975–1995), Tone Skedsmo (1995–2000) and Anniken Thue (2001–2003).
That the gallery had erroneously been labeled as technically unfit for paintings was reported in 2013. (A previous study—about the museums—tåleevne) had never concluded about the fitness level, and Norway's parliament had been misinformed about conclusions that in reality did not exist. )
In 2016 the price for admission doubled overnight.
The Gallery includes pieces by sculptor Julius Middelthun, painters Johan Christian Claussen Dahl, Erik Werenskiold and Christian Krohg as well as works by Edvard Munch including The Scream and one version of his Madonna.
The museum also has old master European paintings by painters such as El Greco, Lucas Cranach the Elder (Golden Age), Gaulli (Sacrifice of Noah), Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia Gentileschi, Andrea Locatelli (Bachannal Scene), Pieter Elinga (Letter Carrier), Ferdinand Bol, Daniel De Blieck (Church Interior), Jacob van der Ulft (Seaport), Cornelis Bisschop (Seamstress) and Jan van Goyen. There are also 19th and 20th Century International paintings by Armand Guillaumin, Carl Sohn, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet (Rainy Day, Etretat), Paul Cézanne, and Pablo Picasso. There are also Norwegian paintings by Adolph Tidemand, Hans Gude, Harriet Backer, and Lars Jorde.
The museum collection will be moved to a new building, opening in 2020 and gathering all sections of the National Gallery, except architecture. The architect of the new building, which will be located on the harbor front, and part of the Fjordbyen development, is the German firm Kleihues + Kleihues (de).
- "Norway's largest collection of art, architecture and design". www.nasjonalmuseet.no. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Dobler billettprisene". klassekampen.no. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- Henriksen, Petter, ed. (2007). "Nasjonalgalleriet". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- Frivik, Karen Riekeles (2013-04-30). "Teknisk uegnet for malerier". Aftenposten. p. 6 D.
- Laurin, Hannover, Thiis, Scandinavian Art", Benjamin Blom, New York, 1968 p. 622
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