Thursday, 17 May 2012

feature : Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblæk, nr. Copenhagen, Denmark by Vilhelm Wohlert and Jørgen Bo

photo thanks to : R. Woollen


Most know Louisiana as a US state famous for it’s cajun and creole cooking, humid bayous, and mardi gras.  But there’s another Louisiana, a house built in 1856, and now part of one of the world’s great museums of modern art, sitting in 25 idyllic acres that overlook the Sound separating Denmark from Sweden, a short drive north of Copenhagen.


Alexander Brun, the first owner of the house, had a great weakness for the name Louise, and managed to marry no less than three of them.  Amazing, but true.  So when it came to naming his house, it must have been the work of a moment to arrive at Louisiana.


A century later, in 1958, Louisiana’s then owner, Knud Jensen, whose family were in the cheese business, decided to create something that didn’t exist in Denmark: a museum where the public could look at modern art in a relaxed, comfortable setting. 


He hired two Danish architects, Vilhelm Vohlert and Jørgen Bo, to design his museum around the original Louisiana, and the two of them carried on designing it, adding new wings as they went, for the next thirty-three years.

photo thanks to : R. Woollen

photo thanks to : R. Woollen


photo thanks to : R. Woollen


Each gallery space feels unique, the only common theme of the design being the beautiful, enclosed walkways that entice you through the grounds from one space to another.


And what of the art on display in the white, bright galleries and tranquil grounds of the Louisiana?  Their collection is made up of mainly 20th century paintings and sculpture, an impressive list that goes all the way from Picasso, Giacometti and Gabo, to Rothco, Calder and Bacon.


But it was a majestic wooden sculpture, by a Danish artist I vaguely knew, that I remember most from the Louisiana.  A thoroughly compelling work, with presence like no other, by Erik Thommesen.

By Richard Woollen, guest author


photo thanks to : R. Woollen

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