Becoming Anna-Eva Bergman

“The road to art passes through nature and our attitude towards it.” – Anna-Eva Bergman

A large shimmering moon, on a deep blue background.
  • 14 June–24 November 2024
  • The National Museum – The Light Hall

Anna-Eva Bergman (1909-1987) lived much of her life in France, but in her paintings, Norway and memories of the Norwegian landscape often play a part. This exhibition shows works inspired by the landscapes of both Norway and France. Balancing between abstraction and figuration, Bergman’s paintings create a space for reflection on nature. Her sensibility for the natural world is no less relevant today, given the ecological emergencies we now face.

The exhibition “Becoming Anna-Eva Bergman” traces Bergman’s path towards a new form of painting and presents several of the monumental works she created between 1950 and 1975. In this period, Bergman developed a new idiom and made a name for herself internationally with a career that stands out in Norwegian art history.

Anna-Eva Bergman in her studio.
Anna-Eva Bergman in her studio. © Fondation Hartung-Bergman

Around 1950, Bergman adopted a new approach to painting and began working with what would become her signature style, namely “painting” with metal leaf. The driving force was the desire to create light within the image. Her abstract compositions are rooted in nature – stones, trees, mountains – but also reflect architecture, literature, legends and myths. At the heart of the exhibition is the three-part painting Composition (1951), which was commissioned for a new bar at the Hotell Farris Bad in Larvik. This was the only decorative commission Bergman ever carried out. The painting will be shown in its entirety for the first time since 1956.

The exhibition includes several of Bergman’s monumental paintings, such as N°4–1957 La grande montagne (The High Mountain) (1957) and N°6–1960 Pyramide (1960). Several of the works were presented at major art events, such as the Spring Exhibition (Salon de Mai) in Paris, the Galerie de France, Documenta in Kassel, and the São Paulo Biennale, events that helped to establish Bergman’s international reputation. Starting in the 1970s, the Henie Onstad Art Centre became an important arena for Bergman in Norway.

About the exhibition

“Becoming Anna-Eva Bergman” is a collaboration between the Hartung-Bergman Foundation in Antibes, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the National Museum.

The exhibition is supported by AKO Foundation

Project Manager: Lita Ellingsen
Curator Exhibition: Wenche Volle
Curator Education: Ingvild Åse Hammervoll
Press Contact: Simen Joachim Helsvig