From Veitvedt to L.A.

The history of the Selvaag Art Collection

Since Olav Selvaag installed the first 23 sculptures overnight at Veitvedt in 1958, Selvaag Gruppen has installed close to 600 sculptures at its residential developments. Selvaag has supported sculptors in Norway over many years, among others by purchasing sculptures for installation at its housing estates and awarding numerous sculpture grants to young or unestablished sculptors.

Historien om Selvaag

  1. 1948

    Ekeberghuset. Olav Selvaag builds Ekeberghuset in Oslo in a third of the time and for a third of the price usual in those days.

  2. 1951

    Spiral staircase. The staircase is placed outside and is not enclosed. The building authorities term this "extremely dangerous". And although it leads to lower building costs and better use of the construction area, it is forbidden. The winding staircase is still part of The Selvaag Group's logo.

  3. 1951

    Mass production. Selvaag builds Norway's first mass-produced housing at Bestum, Oslo. Standardisation and mass-construction of housing make a vital contribution to solving the post-war housing shortage.

  4. BIlde fra åpningen på Veitvedt. Sjøløven av Skule Waksvik i forgrunnen som mange mennesker betrakter.


    Commitment to sculpture. Selvaag embarks on the tradition of making sculpture a signature feature of his housing developments. Since then, the company has installed close to 600 sculptures at its developments, as well as establishing its own sculpture parks at Løren and on Tjuvholmen.

  5. Skulpturen the edge II fotografert der den opprinnelig hang.


    Olav and Frederik start their collection of international contemporary art to be installed at various projects. For the Tatler Center in Bogstadveien, they buy a photo series by Nobuyoshi Araki and the Antony Gormley sculpture, “Edge II”, which hangs off the wall of the building. Today it is installed on one of the exterior walls of the Astrup Fearnley Museum.

  6. 1999

    Løren. The army moves out of Løren. The site, measuring roughly 11 acres, serves as the starting-point for an entirely new district. Today, Løren has attractive housing and workplaces, a varied service and cultural offering, and pleasant recreation areas.

  7. Olav Selvaag fotografert med blomster


    Together with architect Niels Torp, Selvaag wins the competition to develop Tjuvholmen. Art is an important element of the winning proposal, “Utsyn”. In collaboration with Aspelin Ramm, Selvaag develops the area with flats, restaurants and shopping facilities. The company also continues to work on the art destination and its intention of getting Renzo Piano to design a world-class museum.

  8. Kunst plassert i fellesområdet i en Selvaag Pluss-bolig


    Pluss housing. This housing concept is aimed at homebuyers who want extra services, experiences and security. Here, the occupants have access to a fully equipped service area, with staffed reception, lobby, guest rooms, gym, meeting rooms, reception rooms and kitchens.

  9. 2006

    Th Peer Gynt Park. The sculpture park in Løren, Oslo, was opened in 2006, the centenary year of Ibsen's death. It is a collection of sculptures that allows you to follow Henrik Ibsen's drama, Peer Gynt, act by act. The sculpture collection consists of both commissioned works and a piece that won an international sculpture competition.

  10. Modellbilde av dødshuset på Ekely


    In 2011 Bjarne Melgaard comes to Olav and Frederik with the idea of making a sculpture shaped like a house. Snøhetta architects are brought on board and jointly develop “A House to Die in” – a house that will function as Melgaard’s residence and studio, in the neighbourhood of the artists’ colony in Ekely. The project, which travelled to London, Innsbruck and Oslo, has excited both enthusiasm and debate; as of spring 2018, the case is in the hands of the building and construction authorities.

  11. 2011

    50,000 homes built. Selvaag Bolig celebrates this historic event is by giving away a Start home in Løren. Over 70,000 young people aged 18-34 take part in the prize draw.

  12. Bilde av Astrup Fearnley Museet


    Astrup Fearnley Museum. At last, the Astrup Fearnley Museum can move into the building on Tjuvholmen designed by Renzo Piano. The world-famous architect designed not only the museum but the sculpture park outside it. Oslo gains a new world-class art destination.

  13. Oversiktsbilde av skulpturparken på Tjuvholmen


    Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park. The Sculpture park, which opened in autumn 2012, contains numerous sculptures by internationally renowned post-war artists: Anish Kapoor, Franz West, Louise Bourgeois, Peter Fishli & David Weiss, Ellsworth Kelly and Paul McCarthy.

  14. Abramovic sitter på sin egen skulptur utenfor Madserud Gård


    Olav and Frederik meet Marina Abramović in connection with her first solo exhibition in Oslo. They buy the work “A Chair for Man and his Spirit”, which is shipped from New York in one piece. The work is placed in the garden outside Selvaag’s offices on Madserud. When Selvaag moves to new offices in Silurveien, Ullern, the work is moved there too.

  15. Bilde fra Venezia biennalen.


    The Venice Biennale. Selvaag is among the sponsors for the Nordic pavilion at the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s most important contemporary art exhibitions. In 2015, Norway is the host, under the leadership of OCA, the Office for Contemporary Art Norway. Artist Camille Norment is responsible for the artistic development.

  16. Olav Selvaag og Gunnar Kvaran på besøk hos Renzo Piano


    Selvaag invites Renzo Piano to act as co-curator of the summer exhibition at the Astrup Fearnley Museum. Piano contributes to the process of selecting works from the Selvaag Art Collection, as well developing the interior of the building he himself designed. Thus, art, park and building are brought together.

  17. BIlde av utstillingsplakat til I still believe in miracles


    I Still Believe in Miracles. In summer 2018 the exhibition “I Still Believe in Miracles” opens at the Astrup Fearnley Museum. Up to 100 works from the Selvaag Art Collection are exhibited. As at 2018, Selvaag has installed more than 650 artworks at its residential and business developments.

See entire timeline

Through its purchases Selvaag has given young and unestablished artists commissions and job opportunities. In addition, it has awarded a series of scholarships to young and unestablished artists, in collaboration with the Norwegian Sculptors Society.

When Olav needed an expert artistic consultant in the 1960s, Skule Waksvik was among those who provided support. The collaboration between the artist and the construction entrepreneur lasted right up until Olav’s death in 2002. “Olav Selvaag wanted to bring a smile into people’s daily life,” Skule Waksvik recalls. The artist died in 2018, but more than 100 of his sculptures live on at Selvaag residential developments nationwide.

Ole Gunnar Selvaag took over Selvaag from his father Olav and has been behind some of Norway’s largest city and residential development projects. It is important for him that people who move into Selvaag estates have something to be proud of. How is a home created? What does it take to make an area into a place where people will enjoy living their lives? Ole Gunnar inherited his father’s interest in figurative sculptures and was one of the prime movers behind the Peer Gynt Park at Løren. The sculpture park opened in 2006 and the 23 sculptures that are installed among the buildings follow Henrik Ibsen’s drama, act by act.

During the development of Tjuvholmen as a new Oslo district, Olav H. and Frederik wanted to create a unique destination for world-class contemporary art. They brought Peder Lund on board – their navigator of the art world for the past 20 years. “The fact that the artwork is shown and communicated the way it is at Tjuvholmen is very important. It creates interest in and understanding of contemporary art. Olav and Frederik Selvaag have selected central, exciting artists who we wouldn’t necessarily get to see in Norway,” says gallery-owner, Peder Lund.

Gunnar B. Kvaran, director of the Astrup Fearnley Museum, thinks Renzo Piano has produced an architectonic artwork of a building, which has already achieved iconic status. Together, they curated the “I Still Believe in Miracles” exhibition, which will the museum will host in summer 2018. “We will be exhibiting a series of very high-quality abstract works. The public will have the pleasure of seeing art that isn’t normally available in Norway. It will be an exhibition involving many shapes, colours and perceptions – and content that will probably also be provocative in a positive way.”

In spring 2018, ahead of the “I Still Believe in Miracles” exhibition at the Astrup Fearnley Museum , Olav and Frederik Selvaag travelled to New York and L.A. to meet up again with some of their favourite artists – and discover new ones. Join them on a journey through American contemporary art.