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The Tangen Collection

The Tangen Collection is the very core of Kunstsilo. Comprising over 4000 works by more than 300 artists, it is world’s largest collection of Nordic art from the modernist era. The collection is still growing.

Tangen-samlingen. Sørlandets Kunstmuseum. Kunstsilo. Þorvaldur Skúlason, Abstract Composition, 1951, oil on canvas
Birger Carlstedt. Still Life with Flowers (section). AKO Kunststiftelse/Tangen Collection

The world’s largest collection of Nordic modernism

With paintings, graphic art, sculptures, textile works, ceramics, handicrafts, photographs and conceptual art, the Tangen Collection contains such a wide range of art that it provides almost unlimited opportunities to create a rich programme with changing exhibitions based on topics and artists. There is also considerable international interest in the collection, making it possible to lend or exchange works and exhibitions with art institutions throughout the world. This will make the contents of Kunstsilo even richer, more diverse and more dynamic.

Did you know this about the Tangen Collection? Here are ten questions and answers

About the art collector Nicolai Tangen

The man behind the collection is Nicolai Tangen, Kristiansand-born patron of the arts, investment manager and present head of Norges Bank Investment Management. Tangen bought his first work in the mid-1990s, several years before doing an MA in art history on Rolf Nesch at the Courtauld Institute of History of Art. At first he focused largely on constructive, abstract art. Gradually the collection was expanded with surrealist and expressionist works. Today the collection consists of major, important artists, but it also contains important works by artists who have been neglected or forgotten in the art market. The collection continues to grow, and the aim is still to find the best nordic works from the period 1930-1980.

The AKO Art Foundation assumed ownership of the Tangen Collection in 2016. With the completion of Kunstsilo, Sørlandets Kunstmuseum will have perpetual right of disposal. Parts of the collection are currently on loan to various international museums, while other works are in storage in Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo and Bergen. The collection will be transferred to Kunstsilo as the premises are ready for it.


Sonja Ferlov Mancoba. Vogtere af vår arv, 1973. Foto: A.Dannevig / Sørlandets Kunstmuseum ©Sonja Ferlov Mancoba/BONO 2021

Highlights from the collection

The Tangen Collection dives deep into works by major, well-known artists. In addition, Tangen has accomplished an important task by collecting works from artists that history ignored. Norwegian artists such as Gunnar S. Gundersen, Zdenka Rusova, Per Kleiva, Reidar Aulie, Johs. Rian, Mette Tronvoll, Anna-Eva Bergman, Rolf Nesch, Marianne Heske, Bjørn Ransve and Ryzard Warsinsnki are included in the collection. The Finnish pioneers Sam Vanni, Birger Carlstedt, Lars-Gunnar Nordström and Ernst Mether-Borgström are also represented, along with a significant collection of Finnish photographic art. Other artists include Olle Bærtling, Otto Carlsund, Agnes Cleve, Ola Billgren and Sigrid Hjertén (Sweden) and Albert Mertz, Asger Jorn, Rita Kernn-Larsen, Vilhelm Bjerke-Petersen and Per Kirkeby (Denmark).

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