Ordrupgaard was built up upon the foundation of the collecting fervour and love of art of a visionary gentleman who fell in love with Impressionism. With the exhibition Passion for Impressionism. Wilhelm Hansen’s Ordrupgaard, the museum will tell the story of its own genesis, and show how it all started with the dream of a perfect home – both for the family and for French paintings.
The Ordrupgaard collection first opened its doors as a gallery in 1918, as an extension to a newly-built, private villa north of Copenhagen, belonging to Wilhelm Hansen and his wife Henny. Here, the public could experience art, and in particular French art, close-up in intimate and domestic surroundings – something that was completely different to the vast, temple-like and aloof art museums that were the norm at the time. On the walls hung works by, amongst others, Manet, Monet, Renoir and Gauguin.
A passion for French art
Wilhelm Hansen worked tirelessly to spread knowledge of French art, both as a collector and an exhibition organiser, and by founding the French Art Association. His passion arose during his many business trips to Paris, where he became particularly enchanted by Impressionism, and through the purchase of carefully selected works in the years 1916-18, he managed to create a collection that was completely without parallel in northern Europe.
In this video Museum Director at Ordrupgaard, Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark, invites you on a guided tour through the museum’s French Art Collection
In Passion for Impressionism. Wilhelm Hansen’s Ordupgaard, the story of the Hansen family and their art collection, visions and unique home will be brought to life in an exhibition focusing on the French works and Impressionism, including a series of masterful watercolours by Degas, which are otherwise rarely exhibited due to their fragility. The exhibition also features historic photographs, letters and the innovative handicrafts of Thorvald Bindesbøll that adorn the villa, together with paintings from the Danish collection by such well-known names as Vilhelm Hammershøi and L.A. Ring.
Take a look inside the exhibition Passion for Impressionism. Wilhelm Hansen’s Ordrupgaard in this video.