In the spring of 1910, the first Danish open-air theatre saw the light of day. It was located in Ulvedalene in The Deer Park north of Copenhagen, and J.F. Willumsen was the architect behind the outdoor stage. To flank its curved ramp, he created two torch-bearing bird sculptures standing approximately 5 metres tall, made of wood and clad in copper.
The David Collection’s sculpture is a model of these birds, cast in bronze. However, it was created several years after the large bird sculptures were executed, being cast after a plaster model in 1919 in connection with an exhibition of Willumsen’s works at Dansk Kunsthandel in Copenhagen.
Observing the bronze sculpture in The David Collection, one sees a dense, robust bird, its chest pushed forward and its wings raised to hold the brazier aloft. Despite the hard material, Willumsen has succeeded in capturing the texture of the bird’s plumage, greatly reinforcing a naturalistic feel. Willumsen commented on the bird sculptures at the open-air stage on several occasions, emphasising that they did not represent any specific species. Rather, he had sculpted them from his imagination, referring to them variously as ravens and pigeons.
Following a thorough renovation, the bird sculptures are now located at J.F. Willumsens Museum in Frederikssund, where they are called Ravens