The Queen Sonja Art Stable
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.
Changing exhibitions are mounted in the Art Stable.
Current Exhibition: Open Doors
"Open Doors" invites the audience to experience more than 100 works by 50 artists from Her Majesty The Queen's own art collection.
Hedevig Anker's work from Bygdøy Royal Farm has inspired the title of the exhibition and is shown in public for the first time. Photo: the Royal Collections
Queen Sonja has been collecting fine and applied art since her teenage years, and she describes it as an essential and indispensable part of her existence. Normally, many of these works are an important element in the interiors of the Royal residences. Selected works have now been transferred from their sites to be part of this exhibition, and the public is invited to experience a varied and highly personal collection of fine and applied art in the Art Stable.
The Queen’s collection currently comprises some 1 600 works. These have been collected over a period of more than 65 years, and encompass mainly contemporary art. Around half of the collection consists of works by women artists. Most of the artists are Scandinavian, although some international artists are also represented.
Andy Warhol portrayed the then Crown Princess Sonja as part of "Celebrities" in 1982. Photo: The Royal Collections
The exhibition has been curated by Sune Nordgren.
The first exhibition in Queen Sonja Qrt Stable opened 4 July 2017. Here are some of the exhibitions so far:
- The King's Cars. Automobiles over four generations
- An Audience with Art. The National Museum in Queen Sonja Art Stable
- Histories. Three generations of Sami artist
- Tone Vigeland. Jewellery and Sculpture
- Tradition and inspiration
- The Royal Stable. Horses and their equipage 1905–1940
- The Art Stable is open
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.