Jørgen Haugen Sørensen is well known for his strong opinions and constant artistic development.

‘As a young man I started to model after live subjects, then I worked my way to a more abstract form, and for many years I did not touch clay; but it was at the back of my mind as a possibility that I could always take up...’ (JØRGEN HAUGEN SØRENSEN - A Biography p. 161)

The family moves to Lerfosgade on Amager. Dagny works both day and night and she leaves Jørgen and Arne alone at home every day with crayons and plasticine which they can pass the time with while she is out.

Jørgen is apprenticed as a plasterer and potter at Ipsens Enke’s factory. He starts with the easy task, producing the small clay tablets with numbers on for attaching to the bodies that have to be cremated at the nearby Bispebjerg Crematorium. Jørgen quits after two years and finds a studio for himself on Amager where he begins to work with clay.

As a 19-year-old he makes his debut at the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition with Portrait of Martha, but it is not until the Artists’ Autumn Exhibition the year after that he is really discovered and wins recognition.

Jørgen meets the potter Martha Zølner Jensen and the same year their son Jacob is born.

Jørgen is awarded grants which gives him the possibility to go to Paris. At this stage his relationship to Martha had come to an end.

In Paris he experiences the European expressive abstract art at close hand. Furthermore, he initiates a close collaboration and firm friendship with art dealer and gallery owner Børge Birch.

Both turn out to be decisive for Jørgen’s further development as an artist.

Jørgen forms an intimate relationship with Marianne Lautrop and in 1959 their daughter Julie is born. Later on they become parents to Simon (1962) and Tobias (1966).

Jørgen’s new abstract works in tiles and bronze becomes a great success at Børge Birch’s gallery. Jørgen is on the move all the time. And he receives much recognition in both Denmark and internationally. In connection with an exhibition in Aarhus he falls in love with the young art historian Jette Mühlendorph.

Jette and Jørgen move to Toscana and settle down in the town Pietrasanta the same year their daughter Rosa is born. Together with other Danish artists they become a part of the international art scene.

From Pietrasanta Jørgen creates marble and granite sculptures. There is enormous demand for robust works of art that can stand exposure in the public space in Denmark and local politicians make generous purchases for the town squares and newly established pedestrian streets of their market towns. In these sculptures he plays on the contrast between the organic, natural form in the stone and the mechanically worked taut structure.

Jette dies in 1989. Her death becomes a turning point in Jørgen’s life. Death enters his works of art and he takes up working with clay again. He wishes to express his opinions and positions more clearly and returns to the classical, naturalistic form of sculpture.

Jørgen marries the young sculptor Eli Benveniste.

Jørgen is invited to exhibit his clay sculptures in the Sculpture Street of Statens Museum for Kunst, as sculptor of the year. He accepts the challenge and begins immediately to create more works for the exhibition, which he calls '‘While We Wait’.

More about Jørgen Haugen Sørensen's solo exhibitions

Return to the Jørgen Haugen Sørensen exhibition page

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Updated: 26.apr.2018
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