Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 228

ROBERT JULIUS TOMMY JACOBSEN
     ‒       
Robert Jacobsen was self-taught. In his youth he earned his living by such di
ff
erent jobs as bar tender,
badminton player, sailor (traveling as far as America), warehouseman and banjo player in an orches-
tra. In the years during and immediately after World War II he also took part in three di
ff
erent
fi
lms
created by the gifted avant-garde artist Albert Mertz (


) and the highly regarded
fi
lm direc-
tor Jørgen Roos (


). He derived his earliest impressions of the world of art when, as an
errand boy, he came across Henning Larsen’s Kunsthandel in Copenhagen, where he met various
artists such as the naturalist painters John Christensen (


) and Søren Hjorth Nielsen
(


) and the surrealist Wilhelm Freddie (


).
Jacobsen fashioned his
fi
rst sculptures in wood around

. In

, Den Frie Udstilling in Copen-
hagen put on a display of the German Expressionists along with the works of the Swiss artist Paul
Klee (


). Klee’s work especially made a deep impression on the young Robert Jacobsen.
Jacobsen made his
fi
rst appearance in the Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling in

, and four years
later, in the year marking the end of the war and the conclusion of the German occupation of Den-
mark, he showed a number of heavy stone sculptures with the common title of “Fabulous Monsters.”
During the war he had worked with painters including Asger Jorn (


), Carl Henning Peder-
sen (b.

), Egill Jacobsen (


) and Ejler Bille (


), who gathered at the periodical
Helhesten
and at the Høstudstillingen exhibition. The “Fabulous Monsters” were related to the
mythical creatures found in these abstract works by these painters, and if Jacobsen had continued
developing this fantasy universe, he would have ended at the center of the Cobra movement. However,
he chose a di
ff
erent path.
In

he was awarded a grant which would cover a temporary stay in Paris, where he went with
his family, accompanied by Richard Mortensen (


). The two Danish artists quickly became
accepted in the circle around Denise René and her gallery. Artists exhibiting there, among others,
included Jean Arp (


), Jean Dewasne (b.

), Alberto Magnelli (


), and Serge Poli-
ako
ff
(


).
Jacobsen settled in France for the next twenty-two years. For a year or so, he shared a
fl
at and stu-
dio with Asger Jorn in Paris, but then he acquired his own workshop and began to develop a type of
constructive black-painted iron sculptures in which the interspace acquired greater and greater signi-
fi
cance. It was as if it were framed by the metal so that the air was transformed into the weightless
mass of the work. The sculptures possessed a hitherto unseen rhythmical lightness and almost
appeared to be movable. Standing against a white wall, they resembled calligraphic signs, but they
were purged of any narrative expression, exclusively animated by clear and pure artistic language.
To earn a living, Jacobsen worked for a long time together with mechanics in the Paris suburb of
Suresnes. There he gained practical training in the use of tools and the theory of materials at the

]
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