The Queen Sonja Art Stable
The Queen Sonja Art Stable is located in the former Royal Stables. These buildings are part of the Palace that has not previously been open to the public.
The Royal Stables are worth a visit in their own right. Renovated for the opening of the Art Stable, the stables now appear as they did in their heyday - in the interwar years when King Haakon and Queen Maud kept their horses here.
On show 21 September - 25 November:
Tone Vigeland. Jewellery and Sculpture
The exhibition presents the work of Tone Vigeland, the grand dame of Scandinavian and international studio jewellery. In 1995 she turned from jewellery to sculpture. Metals are her preferred material and her work combines the hard material with seemingly soft forms and different textures.
The exhibition is made in collaboration with Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum in Munich and presents jewellery from 1956 to 1998 as well as sculpture from 1998 until today.
Tone Vigeland: Bracelet in steel and silver from 1985. Photo: Hans-Jørgen Abel.
Tone Vigeland’s career spans more than 60 years. In the 1950s she helped to spearhead the renewal of Norwegian art jewellery. She quickly became internationally recognised for her use of new materials and innovative shapes. She played a central role in the emergence of Scandinavian Design and helped to launch a new era in Norwegian and Scandinavian jewellery design.
Well into middle age she shifted her focus to a new dimension, from jewellery to sculpture. The sculpted shapes on the bracelet featured on the exhibition’s poster foreshadow her designs to come.
Silver earrings ("Loop"), 1958. Photo: Tone Vigeland/Galleri Riis
Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum
Tone Vigeland may well be the Norwegian artist that is most widely represented in museums outside Norway.
The exhibition at the Queen Sonja Art Stable is a collaboration with Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum in Munich, which displayed parts of it in 2017. Her Majesty The Queen was the Royal Patron for that exhibition, which was named one of Germany’s best exhibitions of 2017. Ms Vigeland is the first Scandinavian jewellery artist to be honoured with an exhibition at the prestigious German museum.
This exhibition has been significantly expanded to include sculptures on loan from the National Museum, KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes and private collectors.
The Royal Stables
The Royal Stables were built between 1845 and 1848 according to designs from Palace architect H.D.F. Linstow. King Haakon and Queen Maud expanded the facilities in 1911. British-born Queen Maud was an accomplished equestrian, and the stables were remodelled based on those at Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews. The expanded stables provided a number of new functions, including an equestrian arena with a spectator gallery and bandstand, a shoeing forge and infirmary stalls.
The coronation carriage returning to the Palace after a visit to the Storting, January 1932. The Royal Stables had room for 38 horses. Photographer: Carsten Sætren, The Royal Collections.
On Queen Maud’s initiative, a British stable master was hired. At one point, there was a staff of 13 grooms living in the accommodations above the centre stable building. The centre stable could house 38 horses as well as carriages, saddles and harnesses.
After Queen Maud’s death in 1938, the practice of keeping horses declined. The last horses were removed from the Royal Stables shortly after the outbreak of war in 1940. When the Royal Family returned to the Palace in 1945, it was by car. The era of the horse had ended.
The former stalls have been retained as part of the interior as the building was adapted to become the Art Stable. Photo: Jan Haug, The Royal Court.
A new era
The use of this venue was a gift to Her Majesty Queen Sonja from His Majesty The King. The Royal Stables had been used for storage since World War II. Now the building was to be converted into an arena for art and culture.
The Queen Sonja Art Stable officially opened on the Queen’s 80th birthday, 4 July 2017, and was opened to the public on 5 July.
The opening of the Queen Sonja Art Stable marks the beginning of a new era for the stables. Where the horses once stood in their stalls, the public can now enjoy art and history.