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Anna-Eva Bergman, «N°11-1968 Grand rond», 1968 © Fondation Hartung Bergman/BONO
Anna-Eva Bergman, «N°11-1968 Grand rond», 1968 © Fondation Hartung Bergman/BONO

Press release -

Anna-Eva Bergman's monumental paintings in new exhibition at the National Museum

Becoming Anna-Eva Bergman
The National Museum, Light Hall
Oslo, Norway
June–24 November 2024

Press preview: Wednesday 12 June, 11.00–13.00
To attend, please contact by 12.00 on Tuesday 11 June.

The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway is proud to present Becoming Anna-Eva Bergman, a major exhibition showcasing paintings by the Norwegian artist Anna-Eva Bergman (1909–1987) from the years 1950–75. During this period, Bergman developed a new idiom and gained international acclaim, marking a significant chapter in Norwegian art history. The exhibition held in the National Museum’s Light Hall brings together several of her most well-known monumental paintings as well as works that have not been exhibited since the 1950s.

Around 1950, Bergman adopted a new approach to painting and began incorporating metal leaf which would become her signature style. Her goal was to create light within the image, utilising the reflective qualities of metal leaf to respond to the slightest fluctuations in the surrounding light. Bergman developed an artistic language that conveyed the fundamental elements of painting – line, form, colour and texture – while also depicting recognisable forms from nature – rocks, mountains, trees, celestial bodies, the sea and horizons. Sometimes she would focus closely on nature, while at other times she would turn her gaze towards outer space, with depictions of hovering celestial bodies and the Moon. In addition to the natural world, she depicted architecture incorporating houses, pyramids, burial chambers and walls.

Bergman lived and studied abroad, spending time in Vienna, Dresden, Berlin, Paris and Menorca in the 1920’s and 1930s. She was introduced to the international art world and got to know artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Joan Miró. After spending the wartime years in Norway, Bergman left Norway and settled in France. In Paris, she became part of a vibrant art scene and participated in a series of prestigious international exhibitions. She spent the last decades of her life in Antibes in the south of France.

The exhibition at the National Museum will show 43 of Bergman’s paintings, including monumental works, such as N°4–1957 La grande montagne (1957) and N°6–1960 Pyramide (1960). Several of which were presented at major exhibitions such as the Spring Exhibition (Salon de Mai) in Paris, Documenta II in Kassel in 1959, and the São Paulo Biennale in 1969, events that helped to establish Bergman’s international reputation.

For the first time since 1956, all three parts of Bergman’s triptych Komposisjon (Composition) from 1951 are being exhibited together. The whereabouts of this work remained unknown for many years until it came up for auction in 2013 and was purchased for the National Museum’s collection. The painting provides important new insights into Bergman’s approach to abstraction, references to nature and her use of metal leaf.

Bergman and her artist husband Hans Hartung left behind a large archive of personal photographs. A number of these will be on display in a slide show in the exhibition.

The exhibition at the National Museum marks a renewed interest in Bergman’s work. Other museums with major presentations of Bergman in recent years include the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2023) and the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid (2021).

About the exhibition
“Becoming Anna-Eva Bergman” is a collaboration between the Hartung-Bergman Foundation in Antibes, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the National Museum.

The exhibition is supported by AKO Foundation.

Anna -Eva Bergman will be on display alongside the exhibition Mark Rothko. Paintings on Paper at the National Museum this summer. Bergman and Rothko knew of each other’s work and Bergman and her husband visited Rothko in his studio in New York in 1964.

This summer’s exhibition programme at the National Museum
Britta Marakatt-Labba. Moving the Needle
15 March–25 August
The Light Hall

Kandinsky. Into the Unknown
3 May–18 August
Prints and drawings gallery
2nd Floor

“Mark Rothko. Paintings on Paper”
16 May–22 September
The Light Hall

Very Different Tendencies. A Selection of New Works from the Collection
31 May–25 August
1st floor

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The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design is the largest art museum in the Nordics. The collection contains 400,000 objects ranging from the antiquity to the present day and includes paintings, sculpture, drawings, textiles, furniture and architectural models. The new museum building opened in June 2022. At the National Museum visitors can experience a comprehensive Collection presentation of around 6,500 works, as well as a varied programme of temporary exhibitions and events. 


Simen Joachim Helsvig

Simen Joachim Helsvig

Press contact Communications advisor +47 917 64 327