The Danish Collector: Delacroix to Gauguin, directed by David Bickerstaff, takes viewers on a journey to discover some of the best examples of 19th-century French art in one of the greatest collections ever amassed. Wilhelm Hansen and his wife Henny are probably best known for their incredible collection of French impressionists, but their endeavours started with Danish art.
Just over 10km north of Denmark’s capital Copenhagen, lies a majestic manor house containing their enormous haul of artworks from around Europe at his summer home, Ordrupgaard.
As they were building the house in the 1910s, they were also expanding their collection, and wanted Ordrupgaard to become their permanent residence, including the building of a purpose-built gallery.
The collection spans across the entire manor house, with paintings and sculptures from some of the most famous artists in the world hung from wall-to-wall, all still intact from their original placements.
Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark, Director of Ordrupgaard, praised the longevity of the residence and the stunning collection, highlighting its importance in the art world.
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Almost everything in Ordrupgaard has been left in its original place, with the exterior, interior design and furniture all remaining the same.
Since then, the estate has been protected and even extended thanks to work from legendary architect Zaha Hadid, allowing the space to present massive exhibitions in special climate and security conditions.
The likes of Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne can all be seen at the gallery, as well as the namesakes of the film, Eugène Delacroix and Paul Gauguin.
The film takes viewers on a deep dive into Ordrupgaard and the history behind the property and the collection inside.
Under strict Covid guidelines, Exhibition on Screen was able to film at the Royal Academy and the Ordrupgaard gallery to showcase “Gauguin and the Impressionists”.
The film highlights all the collection has to offer from stunning landscapes of Paris and London to intricate and personable portraits of the artists’ loved ones.
One of the most famous pieces in the collection is Portrait of a Young Woman by Paul Gauguin from 1896.
The portrait is of Vaïte ‘Jeanne’ Goupil, who was the daughter of Gauguin’s neighbour in Tahiti, with the French artist using very bright colours to contrast with the stern expression of the nine-year-old.
Anna Ferrari, Curator of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, highlighted not only the pieces by Gauguin, but the fondness Wilhelm Hansen had for his collection.
She told Exhibition on Screen: “In the way Hansen collected, particularly works by Gauguin, I think he was trying to cover the span of his career.
“There was a possible sense that Hansen was trying to collect a France that was disappearing because of the War and that was being damaged by war.
“I think his motivation was that he loved French art and had the opportunity to collect it and secondly, he also wanted to build a collection that he wanted to leave to Denmark.”
Ordrupgaard can be found in Charlottenlund, around 10km north of Copenhagen, and is currently exhibiting Anders Zorn: The Best Under The Sun.
The Danish Collector: Gauguin to Delacroix is available in cinemas across the UK from Tuesday, November 30.