Exhibition | Behind | News about the art | 27.apr.2009

Summer exhibition: New acquisitions at Statens Museum for Kunst

What is tax money spent on? What do private foundations etc. support? And what are the criteria behind the choice of works of art which will form part of the rich collections at Denmark’s national gallery? This summer’s exhibition at Statens Museum for Kunst presents a special selection of the many acquisitions made over the last couple of years: from unique purchases of older 15th century art to important newer works and the latest contemporary art. From Georg Hoefnagel and Wilhelm Bendz, including Vilhelm Hammershøj, J. F. Willumsen and Paul Klee, to John Kørner, Jenny Holzer and Jonathan Meese. The exhibition also looks at the frame of reference of the art purchases of the Museum and reveals something of the procedures and strategies which underlie the choice of new works for the collections.

Acquisitions 2007-09
Statens Museum for Kunst 2 May – 9 August 2009

From here to eternity
Over the years, more or less autocratic directors of the Museum have left a lasting impression on the expansion of the collection of 700 years of art – for better or worse. Every time the Museum acquires a work of art, then it is a definitive choice with no going back. The museum laws prescribe that once a new work enters the collections, it cannot be removed. The work is thus removed from the general mechanisms of the market and becomes part of our common cultural heritage to be registered, conserved, researched and introduced to the general public.

This is why several of the Museum’s specialists carefully evaluate whether the individual work of art can contribute something special to the collections, and whether it has the necessary art historical weight and strength. In some cases – particularly with older works – further art historical and technical investigations of the authenticity of the work, its provenance etc. are set afoot before the final decision is made.

The exhibition gathers up a selection of new acquisitions made since Karsten Ohrt assumed the directorship. More than half of the 100 new acquisitions from the summer of 2007 to now will be shown, including the Museum’s own purchases and often ground-breaking new acquisitions which foundations, firms or private donors have contributed to. The exhibition includes paintings, sculpture, drawings, photographs, graphic art and video art, so that it more or less covers the long stretch of time from the Renaissance up to today which the collections also represent. Rather than forcing the works into a chronological or thematic hang, the exhibition has been arranged so that correspondences between the works are presented. As a result of this, the works can be experienced “across periods and mediums – so that it demonstrates the many-sidedness which the collections are representative of.

Acquisitions policy
Besides demonstrating the wealth of selected works covering the whole span of art history, the exhibition also aims at communicating the policy behind acquisitions. It is a great challenge to live up to the demands of the museum laws to build up representative collections with 6 million DKK per year to purchase art for. Thus the exhibition also shows the very strict priorities behind the Museum’s purchases; for example there are certain areas of the collections like symbolism and works by female artists that are in need of strengthening due to the preferences and blind spots of earlier periods in the history of Statens Museum for Kunst.

Exhibition guide
The exhibition is accompanied by a very concentrated and free guide which draws up the main lines of the acquisition policy of the Museum and also introduces the works on show and explains why they were acquired.
Foreword by Karsten Ohrt. Main article by Peter Nørgaard Larsen. Includes texts by Birgitte Anderberg, Vibeke Vibolt Knudsen, Liza Burmeister Kaaring, Thomas Lederballe, Kasper Monrad, Eva de la Fuente Pedersen, Hanne Kolind Poulsen, Marianne Torp and Dorthe Aagesen.
55 pages. Fully illustrated.

The exhibition is hung in rooms 212-216. Free admission.

The exhibition includes donations and acquisitions with support from:
The Augustinus Foundation, Erik Thommesen, The Hermod Lannungs Museum Foundation, Ingemor Gersemi Willumsen, The Heritage Agency of Denmark, Marianne Mickelborg, Montana, The New Carlsberg Foundation, and donators who wish to remain anonymous.

For further information:
Press Officer
Jakob Fibiger Andreasen
T +45 3374 8474
M +45 2961 6949

Head of Collections and Research
Peter Nørgaard Larsen
T +45 3374 8536

Updated: 8.may.2018
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