Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 23

works in the Loeb collection reflect a large part of the history of Danish art over
rather more than
years, as seen by an American who lived in Copenhagen from
as his country’s ambassador.
It is always interesting to study the composition of a private art collection. The choice of pic-
tures and sculptures rarely adheres to the same constrictions observed by museums; the private
collector follows his own interests and often makes his selections on the basis of intuition and
love, rather than take heed of established opinions. And yet, a pattern almost always unwittingly
arises in the constant dialogue between the statement made by the pictures and the collector’s
experience of his acquisitions.
The composition of the Loeb collection seems to some extent to have been dictated by the
desire to illustrate the general historical development of Danish art, perhaps seen in relation to
contemporary intellectual currents outside Denmark. However, the selection of the works in
this catalogue also suggest a search both for some human response of a personal nature, and
more generally, for what might be called the Danish soul.
On the basis of the first criterion, the paintings in the Loeb catalogue are arranged chronolog-
ically according to the years in which it is believed they were painted, artist by artist. A great
effort on the part of the researchers has been made to include the historicity of both the painters
and their paintings.
The oldest painting in the collection is by Nicolai Abildgaard, showing Alexander and Dio-
genes and is presumably from the
’s, a splendid example of the art of the first history painter
of note to be trained in the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
The most recent work in the Loeb collection is a surrealistic watercolour from
, paying
minute attention to detail and portraying a little girl in the midst of an enigmatic dream, painted
by Henrik Lerfeldt.
The year
saw the founding of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in the baroque
palace of Charlottenborg, where it is still based. Besides Abildgaard, one of the first generation
of Danish professors was the portraitist Jens Juel, who had also been among the Academy’s ear-
liest pupils. He is represented in the Loeb collection with a fine work painted some time during
C. W. Eckersberg, who became a professor in the Academy in
, was of major significance
for the development of the Copenhagen School. The collection includes a beautiful washed
drawing executed during the artist’s student days in Paris, as well as one of his favorite subjects,
a naval frigate under sail.
Two of Eckersberg’s contemporaries, the landscape artist J.P. Møller, and the flower painter J.
L. Jensen, are represented in the collection. There are two paintings by Møller, one of which at
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