As is the case with the Musée Jacquemart-André, the Ordrupgaard Collection was assembled by two art lovers, the Danish couple Wilhelm (1868–1936) and Henny (1870–1951) Hansen. A businessman and art connoisseur, and an independent and visionary man, Wilhelm Hansen assembled in only two years (between 1916 and 1918) a collection—which was quite unique in Europe—of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works from the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A selection of more than forty works will be presented for the first time in Paris, at the Musée Jacquemart-André.
The exhibition will include works that are relatively unknown in France, ranging from Corot to Cézanne and Matisse, the changing landscapes of Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley, and the tender portraits of Renoir, Morisot, and Gonzalès. The works of emblematic artists such as Degas, Manet, and Courbet, will also be exhibited, ending with a finale devoted to the vibrant and sensual art of Gauguin.
After the Musée Jacquemart-André, the exhibition will be presented in other major museums in Europe and around the world, such as the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa.
The Founders: Wilhelm and Henny Hansen
Born in Copenhagen on 27 November 1868, Wilhelm Hansen forged a remarkable career in insurance. An independent and visionary man, he developed a passion for the arts, and French art in particular, which he succeeded in popularising in Denmark, thanks in particular to major exhibitions held in Copenhagen that presented works loaned from major French museums.
He met his wife Henny in 1887 during a performance at the Danish Royal Theatre. They got married on 30 October 1891 and adopted their son, Knud Wilhelm, in 1908.
Wilhelm Hansen’s passion for art began when he was a student: his friend Peter Hansen, who became one of the members of the Danish painters’ collective Fynboerne, introduced him to the artistic milieu. Some of these artists became close friends with Wilhelm and Henny, who, throughout their lives, enhanced their collection with paintings by Danish artists and the major works of the French Impressionists.
Ordrupgaard, the venue
An imposing and charming mansion located north of Copenhagen, the Hansens’ private residence housed an art gallery that was open to the general public after its inauguration on 14 September 1918. In accordance with their wishes, the mansion of Ordrupgaard was left to the Danish state, which turned it into a museum in 1953. Between 2003 and 2005, a modernist extension designed by Zaha Hadid was added to the building’s structure. Its mineral appearance reflects the surrounding natural environment, providing an exceptional setting for the museum’s marvellous collection.
The exhibition team
Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark is the Director of Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen, the Danish museum of French Impressionism and Danish nineteenth-century art. She has worked with art from the nineteenth century and specializes in Paul Gauguin’s early work. She organized the first ever exhibition on the subject (Gauguin and Denmark, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen 1985), and curated the international exhibition Gauguin and Impressionism (Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen 2005 and The Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth 2006) in collaboration with Richard Brettell. In addition she was responsible for bringing the international exhibitions of Vilhelm Hammershøi at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Guggenheim Museum in New York to fruition. In 2016 she succeeded in creating one of the biggest Claude Monet exhibitions in Scandinavia followed by her groundbreaking research for the exhibition Pissarro. A Meeting on St. Thomas - highlighting the largely unknown artistic partnership between Danish golden age painter Fritz Melbye and French painter Camille Pissarro, who would later become the father of impressionism.
Pierre Curie is chief curator of heritage. Specialist of Italian and Spanish painting of the XVIIth century, he also worked on the French painting of the XIXth century at the Musée du Petit Palais, where he started his career. Then in charge of the painting at the General Inventory, he has co-authored and led the Vocabulaire typologique et technique de la peinture et du dessin (published in 2009). Appointed head of the painting sector of the restoration department of the Centre de recherche et de restauration des Musées de France in 2007, he coordinated and followed some major restorations of paintings of the national museums (Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Rembrandt, Poussin ... ). Currently director of the Revue de l’Art, Pierre Curie is curator of the Musée Jacquemart-André since January 2016.
The former Director of Paris Musées, and then Head of Production at the Centre Pompidou, Sophie Hovanessian has also worked as General Administrator of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux. Appointed Administrator of the Musée Jacquemart-André in 2010, she is Head of Cultural Programming and Exhibitions for Culturespaces.
Agnès Wolff, head of exhibitions, Eleonore Lacaille, exhibitions manager at the Musée Jacquemart-André and Amélie Carrière, régisseur at Culturespaces, have also played an important role in the organization and realization of this exhibition Culturespaces.
Hubert Le Gall is a French designer, creator and sculptor of contemporary art. Since 2000 he has produced original scenographies for exhibitions.