Willumsen and Vitalism
Danish Art 1880-1910
From metaphysical yearnings to a conquest of nature. With Jens Ferdinand Willumsen (1863-1958) as the central figure of the movement, Danish art from the decades around 1900 moves away from symbolism towards a very different anti-metaphysical devotion to outdoor life, to man in nature.
Viewed in a wider European context Vitalism is part of the cult of the body that found expression in the “sound mind in a sound body” sentiments of the time, and which found poignant symbolic expression with the reinstatement of the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.
Light and Nature
In addition to paintings and sculptures by Willumsen the room includes works by e.g. Theodor Philipsen and Peter Hansen. Philipsen’s keen interest in light and in the vitality of the animals corresponds well with the 1890s cult of light and nature. Within the realm of art the movement is often associated with the artists’ group Fynboerne, particularly with Peter Hansen and Johannes Larsen.