Denmark Modern and Present Arts

By | September 13, 2021

Art until 1945

The artists of the 20th century broke with tradition. In 1918, Vilhelm Lundstrøm (* 1893, † 1950) introduced French Cubism with his “packing box pictures”, which paved the way for abstract art. Particularly important teachers were K. Zahrtmannand his student H. Giersing, who developed an intensive, coloristic style of painting. This French-influenced direction was opposed to a homeland-related Expressionism, the main representatives of which were Olus Høst (* 1884, † 1966), Jens Søndergaard (* 1895, † 1957) and Erik Hoppe (* 1897, † 1968) as well as for the sculpture Astrid Noack (* 1888, † 1954) were. W. Freddie, who brought Surrealism to Scandinavia in 1930 and whose works were confiscated in an exhibition in 1937 for allegedly pornographic content, also dared to rebel against the existing. Other pioneers of abstract art in Denmark were Vilhelm Bjerke-Petersen (* 1909, † 1957), the coloristically sensitive Ejler Bille (* 1910, † 2004) and R. Mortensen.

Nyrop (New Town Hall in Copenhagen, 1892–1905) and P. V. Jensen-Klint (Grundtvig Church in Copenhagen, 1921–26) sought new paths in architecture.

Between the world wars, P. Henningsen was particularly committed to furniture and product design in industrial production. Kay Bojesen (* 1886, † 1958) designed simple, functional everyday objects. In the 1930s, the simple, voluminous, progressive furniture from Fritz Hansen (founded in Copenhagen in 1915) caused a sensation, which, like many other Danish design objects, was sold through the »Den Permanente« cooperative as an important forum for Danish design. The Bauhaus had little influence in Denmark. Check computerdo to see Denmark Music.

Art after 1945

After the Second World War, the design of furniture, silver and stainless steel appliances achieved a high international reputation. Børge Morgensen (* 1914, † 1942), Hans Wegner (* 1914, † 2007), Finn Juhl (* 1912, † 1989) and Peter Hvidt (* 1916, † 1986) were sought-after furniture designers in the 1950s and 1960s and developed furniture in the so-called “teak style”. The chair “Model No. 3107” by A. Jacobsen became a cult object. At the end of the 1960s, V. Panton created playful, fantastic living landscapes in psychedelic colors as a transfer of Pop Art to interior design.

The sculptors R. Jacobsen and H. Heerup worked alongside the architects A. Jacobsen (Town Hall in Rødovre, 1955/56) and J. Utzon (Sydney Opera House, 1956–73).

The most radical upheaval in post-war painting was brought about by the Cobra group, founded by Carl-Henning Pedersen (* 1913, † 2007) and A. O. Jorn in 1948, among others, which tried to break out of intellectual and cultural isolation and create a supranational one in free painting Develop imagery. In 1961 the “Eks School” was founded as a critical alternative to the art academy, the aim of which was socially engaged, anti-elitist and anti-authoritarian art. P. Kirkeby , Bjørn Nørgaard (* 1947) and Poul Gernes (* 1925, † 1996) were the spokesmen for this movement. The sculptors Jørgen Haugen Sørensen (* 1934), Hein Heinsen (* 1935) and Eva Sørensen (* 1940) as well as the painters Poul Janus-Ipsen (* 1936), Hans C. Rylander (* 1939), Stig Brøgger (* 1941), Anders Kierkegaard (* 1946) and P. Kierkegaard apart.

Similar to the other Western European countries, the artists of Denmark reacted in the 1980s to the previously dominant art movements Concept Art and Minimalism with painting oriented towards the senses. The Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen has been transformed into a philosophical and epistemological center. At the end of the 1980s, most artists gave up gestural painting and each developed their own art forms. Artists such as Claus Carstensen (* 1955), Peter Bonde (* 1958), Erik A. Frandsen (* 1957), Søren Ulrik Thomsen (* 1956) and Elisabeth Toubro (* 1956) formulate an expanded understanding of sculpture and painting in complex image-material installations, the iconography of which ranges from individual mythology to political statements. Artists such as Ane Mette Ruge (* 1955), Michael Kvium (* 1955) or Nina Sten-Knudsen (* 1957), who work in photographic and painterly productions, or Vibeke Glarbo (* 1946) and Øivind Nygård usemore traditional methods and means (* 1948), who sound out today’s conditions of aesthetic perception of the world in sculptural works in concrete or polyester. Currently directing Olafur Eliasson (* 1967) Exhibitions as an adventure and knowledge course with mirror reflections, kaleidoscopes, light works, camera obscura and wooden staircase constructions as architectural interventions on the subject of perception.

In architecture, A. Jacobsen’s tradition was continued by Hans Dissing (* 1926, † 1998) and Otto Weitling (* 1930), who took over his office in 1979; they achieved an exemplary concept with the art collection of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf (1976–86). Otto von Spreckelsen (* 1929, † 1987), who mainly worked as a church architectwon the architecture competition in 1983 with his bold project and built the Grande Arche in Paris-La Défense, but he never saw its completion. The buildings in Denmark itself are in the tradition of classical modernism, with dimensions and proportions being preserved. Influences of postmodernism (building exhibition in Odense, 1989) show, among other things, the main building of Kaas Staalbyg in Pandrup, North Jutland (1976) and the wooden houses of the Ebeltoft holiday complex (1987/88). Important impulses, also internationally, have been provided by H. Larsen in recent years (including Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall, opened in 2001; opera house in Copenhagen, 2001–05).

Denmark Modern and Present Arts