Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 232

CHRISTIAN ALBRECHT JENSEN
            ‒     
The artist C.A. Jensen was born in the small town of Bredsted north of Husum in Southern
Schleswig, the son of a glover. He trained in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen


where he was taught by Professor C.A. Lorentzen (


) along with (among others) the German
painter Ferdinand Flachner. Jensen left the Academy in

after having won only the minor silver
medal, the lowest-ranking of the o
ffi
cial tokens of ability awarded. He spent


in Dresden,
Germany, where he registered at the city’s Academy of Fine Arts. From there he proceeded to Italy and
Rome with
fi
nancial support from the Fonden ad Usus Publicos.
During his three years in Rome, C.A. Jensen studied the latest developments in portraiture, which
tended to be intimate portrayals of the facial features executed in a small format. Having joined the
circle around Bertel Thorvaldsen (


) in Rome, he painted a number of small portraits of his
Danish acquaintances there, including the poet B.S. Ingemann (


), the historian Hector F.
Janson Estrup (


), whom he had met in Dresden, and the sculptor H.E. Freund (


).
During the same period, he copied a number of the works of older masters.
Once back home, Jensen acquired a reputation as a portraitist for the a
ffl
uent Copenhagen bour-
geoisie. He produced one sparkling portrait after another, straightforward in manner and with little
in the way of staging. For a time he even outdid Eckersberg, whose cool neo-classical style lacked the
sensitive psychological insight characteristic of Jensen’s works. The years


saw the execution
of many of C.A. Jensen’s best paintings, including portraits of a colonial civil servant,
Johannes
Søbøtker Hohlenberg,

,
now in Statens Museum for Kunst, the artist’s own wife c.

,
now
in Den Hirschsprungske Samling, and one of his friends in Rome at the time,
Professor, dr. theol.
Henrik Nicolai Clausen,

,
now in the Museum at Frederiksborg Castle.
However, his success did not continue, for he had di
ffi
culty in gaining o
ffi
cial appreciation of his
work. Though he was recognised by the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in

and made a mem-
ber the following year,
fi
ve years later he was passed over when a new chair was to be
fi
lled after the
death of C.A. Lorentzen. Throughout his life C.A. Jensen had to su
ff
er from the art critics’ rancorous
opposition to his free use of the paint brush and his occasional broad strokes. It was the in
fl
uential
Professor Høyen (


) who was at the forefront of the disparagement and at times ridicule of the
portraitist and his “blotchy” style of painting, which was described as “messy” and “unacademic.”
In time, Høyen managed to denigrate Jensen to such an extent that many of his earlier clients began
to look down on him and reduced the number of their commissions.
Jensen ran into
fi
nancial di
ffi
culties after

. A growing family increased the need for rapid pro-
ductivity, and his works began to vary in quality. Nevertheless, Prince Christian Frederik, later King
Christian VIII, who had been an admirer of the artist ever since his time at the Academy, supported
him when he applied for a post as a replica artist for the collection of portraits at Frederiksborg Cas-

]
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