Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 108

   ‒   
 .
Young Girl Writing,
(Ung pige, der skriver)
Oil on canvas,
in. (
Signed lower right: Chr. Dalsgaard, Sorø
       :
Bruun Rasmussen, Auction
, lot
, ill.
         :
Paris World Fair,
, no.
; Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
Danish Paintings of the
Nineteenth Century from the Collection of Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr.,
. 
; Bruce Museum of Art and Science, Greenwich,
Connecticut and The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, New York,
Danish Paintings of the Nineteenth Century from
the Collection of Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr.
, no.
, ill.; Scandinavia House, New York,
Danish Paintings from the Golden Age to
the Modern Breakthrough, Selections from the Collection of Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr.
, no.
         :
Julius Lange,
Nutids-Kunst, Skildringer og Karakteristikker,
, pp.
; Karl Madsen,
Kunstens Hi-
storie i Danmark,
, p.
; Knud Søeborg,
Christen Dalsgaard og hans Kunst,
, p.
, ill.
; Patricia G. Berman,
In Another Light, Danish Painting in the Nineteenth Century
, New York
, p.
, ill. p.
erhaps the best possible description of this engaging painting comes from art historian and humanist
Julius Lange (
) in one of his best known works.
. . . in
came the charming painting—in a painterly sense one of Dalsgaard’s most beautiful—of
the quite young girl sitting by the window, completely engrossed in the important undertaking of
writing a letter. We will make no insinuation at all concerning the contents of the letter, which were
perhaps not really so important; but in the entire posture, in the way in which she was holding her
head to one side to see down the lines and involuntarily twisting her foot round one of the chair legs,
the rare and solemn quality of the event were expressed with so much grace and humour.
Altogether, Christen Dalsgaard made four versions of
Young Girl Writing.
Three of them are dated
the fourth is dated
one of them was exhibited in the Paris World Fair, establishing the picture’s reputation and its
cance in the history of Danish art. Since it cannot be determined with certainty which of the versions
was sent abroad, the history of all four paintings is considered here.
The artist’s nephew, A. S. Dalsgaard, recalls that his uncle was extremely industrious and always had
something in preparation, “either a new idea or a repeat of an older motif that had come to life for him
The same source provides the information that the Dalsgaards had a single child, a daughter, who
died as a baby, but the artist and his wife adopted a little orphan girl on whom they both doted. Whether
the model for the girl writing her letter is the artist’s adoptive daughter, who in
must have been about
years old, is something at which we can only guess.
The features of this young girl are found in other works by Dalsgaard, for instance,
En Rekonvalescent (A
, now in the Hirschsprung Collection. This work was exhibited the following year at
Charlottenborg together with others, including
Young Girl Writing.
In the book quoted above, Julius Lange
writes of it: “In
, Dalsgaard enjoyed a greater success in the exhibition than usually fell to his lot on
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