Thielska Gallery in Stockholm owns the largest collection of Vigeland sculptures and Edvard Munch outside of Norway. The 150th anniversary for Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) is celebrated in Sweden with an exhibition with Gustav Vigeland'a works at Thielska from June 15 to September 29, 2019.
The interest in Vigeland's art was great in Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century, much thanks to the bank director and art collector Ernest Thiel (1855–1947). Thiel bought eight sculptures in bronze from Vigeland to his home at Djurgården in Stockholm, today Thielska Galleriet.
Four of the sculptures - Mother and child (1907), Young man and woman (1906), Man with woman (1905) and Old man and young girl (1906) - were placed in part of the park called the Vigeland terrace. Thiel was particularly interested in artists who had great visions, but who lacked financial means. His enthusiasm for Vigeland was therefore not surprising.
Vigeland and Thiel collaborated on increasing the interest in the sculptor's work, especially the public assignments. When Vigeland finally got the order for a monument to the mathematician Niels Henrik Abel, he wrote to Thiel that it was partly because the committee had received a feeling that the work could end up abroad, that is, in Sweden.
When Gustav Vigeland a few years later gathered support to found the large Fountain, which was the beginning of the Vigeland Park, Thiel and Vigeland used the same tactic; Thiel stated that he wanted to buy the Fountain and thereby making Oslo City more interested than ever. Thiel himself contributed NOK 50.000 to Vigeland's Fountain.
"It is the happiest day of my life", Vigeland wrote in response. Together they laid plans that played on the uncertainty of the newly-won national feeling in Norway, and this led to Vigeland's large-scale park project being started.
The exhibition shows works from the period 1890–1940 and gives a fascinating insight, not only in Vigeland's art, but also the Swedish-Norwegian common cultural history.