Appropriately, Johannes Larsen was given the nickname The Bird Painter. He was in his right element in nature –beneath the open sky with the easel firmly planted in the Funen soil. This was the place where the landscape motifs and bird studies, by which he is widely acknowledged, was created. However, Larsen’s artistic heart also belonged to his home in Kerteminde that he built with his wife Alhed.
Presenting the exhibition, Johannes og Alhed Larsen. At Home in Nature, Ordrupgaard tells the story about the artist couple and their home that became a vital element for the art scene of the period.
The Home as an Art Work
Sharing a mutual love of art, nature and beauty Johannes and Alhed built their house at Møllebakken in Kerteminde in 1901. Not only did the home become a cultural gathering place for many of today’s painters and writers, it also formed a beautiful and evocative setting for the couple’s lives.
An unconditional sense of art and aesthetics pervaded the impressive residence -from the interior with the exquisite heirlooms and the winter garden’s tropical climate, with orchids and fountains, to the rich wildlife of the garden. These scenes are reflected in the couple’s art works.
The Versatile Painter
Unquestionably it is with the bird landscapes that Johannes Larsen (1867-1961) has made his most complete and personal contribution to Danish art history.
Larsens interest in nature, birds and hunting was already established during adolescence in the merchant’s house in Kerteminde. Accordingly he is presented as an eminent bird painter and portrayer of nature but also as an interior designer and father.
A Modern Relationship
The story of Johannes Larsen is not complete without his wife and colleague, Alhed. Their marriage was based on love and mutual respect and Johannes Larsen was supportive of his wife’s artistic career. In their unique home they unfolded their artistic visions equally. While Johannes found his motifs in the nearby surroundings of the home, Alhed portrayed the beauty indoors with interior paintings, colorful flower arrangements and the light and shadow play in the window sill.