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.
The Palace + Munch
On show from 4 July 2020 until 17 January 2021: The Palace + Munch. Graphic works by Edvard Munch.
The exhibition shows Edvard Munch's lithographic production through a wide selection of both printing stones and finished works on paper. The heavy stones, powerful printing press and final products - lithographs - give us an impression of the working process of one of Norway's greatest printmakers.
From the exhibition Slottet + Munch in Queen Sonja Art Stable. Photo: Øivind Möller Bakken, the Royal Collections
Edvard Munch began to work with prints in 1894, and created a total of 850 graphic motifs. For Munch - as for many other artists - graphic arts were the most effective way of spreading his art to a broader public. Many of the motifs have content that is closely associated with Munch's paintings and that has been revisited as graphic art. For example that is the case with "Madonna", "The Kiss" and "Vampire".
Munch never stopped experimenting with new techniques and continued to explore the possibilities in prints until his death in 1944. There are 39 graphic works in the exhibition Wiith one exception are all of them lithographies.
The exhibition provides the possibility to see both the lithographic stone and the finished print. Here "Omega and the flower " from 1908-1909. Photo: Øivind Möller Bakken, The Royal Collections
The lithographic stones
Lithography is a graphic technique. The word derives from the Greek noun lithos, which means "stone" and the verb graphein, which means "to write". The basis of the technique is the mutual repulsion of water and oil. First the motif is drawn or painted on porous, smoothly planed limestone. Then the stone is moistened with water. When the printing colour is applied it is repelled by the wet areas, and adheres only to the oily areas, where the original drawing was made. Finally, the motif is transferred to paper using a powerful printing press.
Graphic works from the "Alfa and Omega" cycle are an important part of the exhibition. Here the lithographic stone for "Moonrise". Photo: Halvor Bjørngård, the Munch Museum.
We show 38 of a total of 150 lithographic stones used by Edvard Munch. The stones and the prints have been given equal space in the exhibition, indicating that both have intrinsic artistic value. This is not a given. The stones have often been considered to be merely tools on the path to the finished product: the graphic print.
Lithographic stones from the "Alfa and Omega" cycle have been placed on an "island" in the exhibition and are mirrored in the surrounding "water". Photo: Øivind Möller Bakken, The Royal Collections
A collection of this kind, presenting Munch's lithographic stones along with the resulting works on paper, has never before been shown to the public. This makes the exhibition itself a segment of the history of graphic art.
The exhibition is mounted in collaboration with the Munch Museum and curated by the Royal Collections in collaboration with Mr bård Lie Thorbjørnsen
The first exhibition in Queen Sonja Qrt Stable opened 4 July 2017. Here are some of the exhibitions so far:
- 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.