Hans Rasmus Astrup, Founder of the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo, Has Died

On 30 April 2021, by Vanessa Schmitz-Grucker

Hans Rasmus Astrup, who made ARTnews annual list of the top 200 collectors every year since 1992, died on April 23 at the age of 82.

© Javier Auris NRK

Hans Rasmus Astrup, who made his fortune in shipping and real estate, turned to avant-garde art early on. His collection was the basis of a major private museum, the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo, which was designed by Renzo Piano and opened in 1993.

Born in 1939, Astrup graduated from the University of Oslo with a law degree in 1972. The same year, he took over the family business, Fearnley & Eger, a shipping brokerage firm founded in 1869 by his great-great-grandfather, Thomas Fearnley. In 2019, the Norway Post put Astrup’s worth at NK4.7 billion ($566 million). His ambition was nothing less than to create one of Europe’s largest contemporary art collections. He began in the 1960s while living in New York and added works by Cindy Sherman, Matthew Barney, Mark Bradford, Shirin Neshat and Glenn Ligon, among others. Today his museum plays a key role in the development of contemporary art in Norway.

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