Special exhibition

From Philipsen to Salto -
the Collection of Danish
Early Modern Art revisited

May 24, 2019 - August 30, 2020

“Like most young boys, I began to collect stamps at an early age — as well as insects, butterflies, etc. It was very amusing, but I never became a passionate collector in any of these fields.” (C. L. David, 1953)

When Christian Ludvig David died in 1960, he left behind not only a rich collection of early fine and decorative art from Europe and parts of the world of Islam, but also a large collection of Danish paintings, sculptures, and ceramics by artists of his own day. It is a selection from this “modern” part of the collection that is reexhibited here – several of the works have not been displayed before.

Among the earliest works that appear in David’s account books are paintings by J. F. Willumsen, the brothers Joakim and Niels Skovgaard, and the brothers Vilhelm and Svend Hammershøi. Then David slowly began to build up a collection of contemporary art, with paintings and decorative art by a fairly wide range of his period’s artists, including Theodor Philipsen, Thorvald Bindesbøll, P. S. Krøyer, L. A. Ring, Poul S. Christiansen, Julius Paulsen, Niels Hansen Jacobsen, Albert Gottschalk, Edvard Weie, and the “Funen artists” Peter Hansen and Johannes Larsen.

At times, there was also room for younger, more modern practitioners, especially in the fields of ceramics and sculpture. Examples are Axel Salto, Svend Rathsack, and the French-Danish artist Jean Gauguin. Sculptures, especially smaller ones, are found in abundance in the collection, probably due to the early influence of Agnes Lunn, David’s sculptor godmother. From an early age, David was introduced to her work, and as he himself put it, it was she “who supported my interest in art, just as she supported me.”

David had an eye for what was to become significant far into the future. Many of the works are classics and only a few of the artists are no longer well known or popular. This is one reason why several of Vilhelm Hammershøi’s paintings will be lent to museums in Japan, and will consequently only be part of the exhibition in the David Collection until the end of the year 2019. The rest of the exhibition will be open till August 30, 2020.

Free tours in English in the exhibition are offered, see the program here.

An exhibition poster will be sold in the museum shop for DKK 40 and a number of new post cards with Danish motifs have been printed to mark the opening of the exhibition and can be bought for DKK 5.

For further information, contact curator Peter Wandel at p.wandel@davidmus.dk, tel. +45 33 73 49 49.