About the display - The ideas behind it
Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900 displays more than 400 works in 24 freshly renovated exhibition rooms. While this is only a small sampling of the museum's collection of Danish art before 1900, it is the most important of its kind to be found in any museum.
Choices made at every turn
The scope and quality of the Gallery’s collection has allowed the new display unique opportunities for relating grand narratives and rather more obscure stories about Danish art and Danish artists. Taking its point of departure in the most recent research, Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900 aims to provide an accurate account of what the Gallery regards as the most significant artists and movements within Danish art in the period leading up to the 20th century.
The final hanging has been preceded by a rigorous vetting process where experts have had their pick among the more than 3,500 works housed in the collection. Of course, the new display offers plenty of opportunities to revisit unmissable masterworks by the greatest Danish artists of the era. However, a number of obvious candidates have had to give way in favour of artists who have hitherto lead rather obscure lives within Danish art history.
Why a new display?
The collection's scope and quality provides an excellent opportunity to tell both the large meaningful and small out-of-the-ordinary stories about Danish art and Danish artists. Based on the latest research, Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900 clarifies what the museum sees as the key artists and movements in Danish art up to the dawn of the 20th century.
Main narratives and undercurrents
The overall structure of the new display will present audiences with a chronological presentation that takes its beginning in the mid-18th century and traces the main outline of the story of older Danish art interspersed with monographs that offer in-depth treatments of some of the greatest artists of the era, among these Abildgaard, Eckersberg, Købke, Ring, and Hammershøi.
At the same time the new display lays down another track that focuses on those who were not perfectly adapted to accepted art history, on offbeat art, on “wrongly gendered” art, etc. These auxiliary narratives can be summed up as a Romantic/idealistic undercurrent within Danish 19th century art; an undercurrent that runs parallel to the generally accepted main narrative inspired by France.
New themes and new approaches to education
One of the underlying ambitions behind all of the new presentations currently being developed by the Gallery is to ensure that historical matters and material remain relevant to contemporary audiences. In addition to the major – and minor – tracks laid down in the chronological presentation, Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900 also provides contemporary perspectives on the art from the era. Several of the exhibition rooms are devoted to themes that reverberate with relevance to our own time.
First of three stages
Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900 and its companion French Art 1900-30 represent stage one of the comprehensive efforts to revitalise the collections housed at the National Gallery of Denmark. They will be joined by the new display of European Art 1300-1800 on 26 November, and 31 March 2012 will see the range of new displays of the Gallery collections completed with Danish and International Art after 1900.