Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 110

to the new artistic currents from abroad.
Karl Madsen writes that although there were French critics who
made the e
ff
ort to acquaint themselves with the language of Danish painting and its positive qualities, and
who “emphasised the honesty of Danish art, the intensity of feeling in it and the wealth of talent,” most of
them nevertheless condemned “its formal incompetence and deplorable predilection for a decorative qual-
ity that was devoid of all character.”
The criticism of Paul Mantz was typical of this ambivalence. In the newspaper
Le Temps
of November

, he drew attention to Christen Dalsgaard’s
Letter Writer
as “the most interesting and most signi
fi
cant
painting in the Danish section,” a work in which “the motif, the will, the thought and the intention deserve
the greatest praise.” Unfortunately, these gratifying remarks were not allowed to stand without further
comment. Mantz goes on to use Dalsgaard’s work as an example of his personal assessment of the overall
Danish contribution: “But the painter himself, and most Danish painters, are like the young girl. The hand-
writing is bad, the orthography faulty, the style without art.”
Karl Madsen’s commentaries on this, twenty-nine years after the catastrophic French reception of the Dan-
ish paintings, relativise the event to some extent.
He points out that, in contrast to the art of Eckersberg and especially Købke, the wave of national art
had never been able to achieve any particular interest or appreciation on the part of foreign art critics, but
that the national line in art was neither vapid nor without content, and asserts that
Young Girl Writing
was
FIG. C: VERSION
Young Girl Writing,

Oil on canvas,
¼
x
⅓
in. (

x

cm)
Signed and dated lower left: Chr. Dalsgaard, Sorø

Owner unknown
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