Skip to content

Playing Pieces

Closing 12 March!


Where Permanenten

Price 150/100/0 NOK

Who collects, who decides – and how does this affect art history and our common cultural heritage?

Explore 161 masterpieces by internationally recognised artists including Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, Claude Monet, Nikolai Astrup, and Barbara Hepworth at Kode this winter!

In "Playing Pieces", visitors can see artworks that museum professionals in Norway have put at the top of their wish lists.

The Savings Bank Foundation DNB is a charitable foundation, which, since 2005, has been investing heavily in the purchase of art in collaboration with Norwegian art museums. Loaned out on a long-term basis, these works complement museum collections, helping to establish new contexts and stories.

With art from the late 19th century to the present, this is an extensive exhibition.

Here, visitors will encounter works by the popular West-Norwegian painter, Nikolai Astrup, the Impressionist Claude Monet, pop artist Andy Warhol, the avant-garde Kurt Schwitters, who lived for a while in Norway, and many others, including German expressionists, American art photographers, and female pioneers.

Displayed over two floors in Permanenten, "Playing Pieces" uses innovative digital tools that let you engage with the art in new ways.

An exhibition room with red walls. A large installation by Louise Borgeouis is surrounded by paintings and sculptures.

Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

A man is standing in front of a painting depicting naked soldiers. He is taking a photo.

Brikker. Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

An exhibition room with bright red walls, where colorful works by Andy Warhol are displayed.

Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

A woman is standing in front of a wall, where several black and white photos are on display. She is taking a photo.

Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

An exhibition room with dark red walls, featuring paintings by Nikolai Astrup.

Foto: Dag Fosse / Kode

World-class art

The exhibition guides the visitor through the main themes around which the Savings Bank Foundation DNB has built its art collection. With 43 Norwegian and international artists, the exhibition is broad in scope.

20th-century greats such as Claude Monet, Nikolai Astrup, Peder Balke, and Harriet Backer are presented alongside a rich selection of works that illuminate the foundation’s focus on German expressionism, works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Gabriele Münter, and others.

A separate section is devoted to American art photographers, including Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon.

Silk screen print by Andy Warhol based on paintings by Edvard Munch. Depicting the naked Madonna at the left side and the painter's self-portrait with mustache and short hair on the right side.

Andy Warhol: Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton Arm (After Munch), (1984). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

Painting by Peder Balke depicting the northern coast of Norway. We se waves and cliffs before a cloudy sky with a long line of flying birds.

Peder Balke: Nordkapp (1845). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

Photography by Richard Avedon depicting a woman seated at a café, wearing a hat and coat, stirring in her cofee. A few people sitting in the background.

Richard Avedon: New York Life #13 Harlem, (1949). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

Painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner depicting a group of naked soldiers taking a shower in a large shower room, supervised by a general in uniform.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Soldatbadet (1915). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

Who finds a place in Art history?

One of the exhibition’s leitmotifs is the question of how collecting art influences art history.

"Playing Pieces" looks at different collaborations and changing views on what constitutes relevant art to explain why Norwegian museums tend to favour these particular artists.

One section is devoted to notable pioneers like Louise Bourgeois, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, and Barbara Hepworth, whose work has been acquired thanks to the foundation’s efforts to include more female artists in museum collections.

What stories are told through art, why are they told, and who tells them?

Museums, artists, researchers, collectors, and politicians all move the playing pieces that make up the game of art history. Some of those pieces have been forgotten, while others have yet to be discovered.

Painting by Claude Monet depicting a large mountain at dawn. Black trees, dots of snow and a light pink sky. A few houses can be seen at the foot of the mountain.

Claude Monet, Kolsåstoppen, (1895). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

Photography by Diane Arbus depicting two happy children, laughing, and hiding together under a large jacket while walking towards the photographer.

Diane Arbus: Kids in a coat N.Y.C. (1960). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

Painting by Max Ernst depicting a gigantic cliff-like mountain on a black ground. Behind it a sharp circle in bright pink.

Max Ernst: Skog og sol, (1926). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

A painting by Nikolai Astrup depicting a large bonfire in spring green mountains. People are celebrating mid summer eve and dancing around the bonfire, wearing long aprons and dresses, or shirt and black pants. A woman is standing in the front of the motif, looking both sad and thrilled at the fire.

Nikolai Astrup: Priseld / Midsummer Eve Bonfire (1915). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

Painting by Harriet Backer depicting the inside of a stone church. A priest is conducting a baptism. The baby is held by two women wearing 1800-dresses and hats.

Harriet Backer: Barnedåp i Stange kirke, (1889). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

Large aquarel painting by Carl Larsson depicting a woman sewing at a large table. She is sitting in a living room with flowers in pots and yellow walls.

Carl Larsson: Syende flicka (1911). Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

About the exhibition

The exhibition can be seen at Permanenten, from 2 December to 12 March 2023. Exhibition opening: Friday 2 December at 19.00.

"Playing Pieces" is a collaboration between the Savings Bank Foundation DNB, MUNCH, and Kode. The exhibition was on display at MUNCH in the summer of 2022.

The exhibition is curated by Oda Wildhagen Gjessing of the Savings Bank Foundation DNB, and Nikita Mathias of MUNCH.

List of Artists

Berenice Abbott, Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Jean Arp, Nikolai Astrup, Richard Avedon, Harriet Backer, Peder Balke, Louise Bourgeois, Marianne Bratteli, Heinrich Campendonk, Ted Croner, Lena Cronqvist, Imogen Cunningham, Raoul Dufy, Morris Engel, Max Ernst, Walker Evans, Louis Faurer, Lee Friedlander, John Gutmann, Erich Heckel, Barbara Hepworth, Lars Hertervig, Peter Hujar, Hannah Höch, Alexej von Jawlensky, Irma Salo Jæger, André Kertész, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, William Klein, Oskar Kokoschka, Dorotea Lange, Carl Larsson, August Macke, René Margritte, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, Claude Monet, Otto Mueller, Gabriele Münter, Nicholas Nixon, Emil Nolde, Ruth Orkin.