Wilhelm Marstrand (1810-73), The Art Historian Niels Lauritz Høyen, 1868
Niels Lauritz Høyen was Denmark’s first art historian and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts and at the University of Copenhagen.
He introduced order to the national collection of portraits at the Frederiksborg Museum and was curator of The Royal Collection of Paintings (later National Gallery of Denmark). He was on the board of the exhibition venue “Kunstforeningen” and was Denmark’s leading art critic.
What was good Danish art according to Høyen?
Høyen defined, acquired, and exhibited what he regarded as good Danish art. A firm nationalist, he believed that art should serve the people and the nation, not just Beauty. Eckersberg was his hero, Abildgaard quite the opposite, and several artists were caught in between. C.A. Jensen, who painted the portrait of H.C. Ørsted (r), had too coarse and un-Danish a style for Høyen’s liking; he had to give up his career because of Høyen.