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Permanenten

Opening hours

Monday: Closed Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11.00–16.00 Thursday: 11.00–20.00 Saturday and Sunday: 11.00–17.00

Collection and exhibitions

At Permanenten we show temporary exhibitions across three floors of both contemporary art and works from our own collection.

You might know Permanenten as Vestlandske Kunstindustrimuseum. Traditionally, this is the building housing the collection of fine craft and design, Norwegian silver and the Chinese art collection.

At the top floor you find Festsalen, suitable for hosting various larger events and festive occasions, in addition to the library and meeting rooms.

The museum is currently being renovated and has a limited number of exhibitions on display in 2022-23. Large parts of the collection previously on display in Permanenten is not available at this time.

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Our rich heritage

In 1889, the museum obtained the core of its collection with C. Sundt’s magnificent historic collection, which he donated to the Museum of Decorative Art. Contemporary ceramics have also been an important part of the museum from the start.

From the 1960s and onwards, the museum pursued a distinct modern line in its procurements. Among its additions we should mention textile art from renowned names such as Frida Hansen, Hannah Ryggen and Synnøve Aurdal, and art jewellery from Tone Vigeland.

The collection holds some of the finest of Bergensian goldsmithing throughout 500 years. Since the 1500s, Bergen has been a vital centre for the production of gold and silver art objects and utility items.

Christen Sveaas’ generous gift of silver from Bergen, now Stiftelsen Bergenssølvet, is currently lent to Kode by Bergen University Museum, Norsk Folkemuseum and private collectors.

The Singer Collection has also been on display at Permanenten.

Brudekrone i delvis forgylt sølv av Jacob Christian Ravn, 1854. Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

The Chinese Collection

Kode is home to Norway’s largest collection of Chinese art and handicraft. The collection counts approximately 4000 objects and spans a period from the Neolithic period to the beginning of the 20th century.

The collection consists of several works of art, among them album leaves, books and paintings used on fans and sunshades, as well as sculptures in white marble, sandstone and limestone, bronze and clay. It also includes objects made of metal, porcelain and jade, and lacquerware and textiles.

Among the collection’s highlights are objects from The Forbidden City and Buddhist marble sculptures and marble plinths from Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace outside Beijing.

Read more about the history of the Chinese Collection.

Porselensskål med dragemotiv, datert 1887. Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

The building itself

The monumental Italian Neo-renaissance building Permanenten was designed by architect Henry Bucher from Oslo. He was only 27 years old and newly educated when he received the commission after first having won the architect competition.

The style and material were typical for this kind of representative building in the period around 1890. The municipal representative also stressed that the materials should be «authentic», with carved stone rather than cement and plaster.

The large façade sculpture above the entrance depicts J. C. Dahl and was made by sculptress Ambrosia Tønnesen.

Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

From a performance at Permanenten, with a person running up the stairs, with a colorful textile flowing behind them.

Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

From a previous exhibition at Permanenten, in a room with walls painted yellow, pink and blue, and paintings hanging on the walls.

Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode