Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 245

    ‒    
 .
Portrait of the flower painter J. L. Jensen’s wife
(Portræt af blomstermaler J. L. Jensens hustru)
Oil on canvas,
½ in. (
Signed and dated top right: C.A. Jensen
       :
Kgl. kammersangerinde Emilie Ulrich, Copenhagen; Bruun Rasmussen, Auction
, lot
, ill.
         :
Holmegaards Glasgalleri,
Udstilling af danske blomstermalere på H. C. Andersens tid
         :
Sigurd Schultz,
C. A. Jensen
, I-II, Copenhagen
, no.
, vol. I, pp.
, ill. p.
lower painter J. L. Jensen’s handsome wife Signe Marie Vilhelmine, née Visby, is barely
years old. She
married her painter on the
th of May
in the village of Gentofte, north of Copenhagen. The wed-
ding took place only a few months after the groom’s appointment as painter in chief at the Royal Porcelain
Factory of Copenhagen, an honorable and steady position that gave him the opportunity of marrying, as
well as two years later letting his wife, and later himself, be painted by the city’s most prominent portrait
It is not unlikely that the flower painter carefully decided how his young wife should present herself on
her portrait. Mrs. Signe’s beautiful gown seems to be made of mauve tulip leaves, and makes one think of
the fragrant, mottled magnificence of flowers that was to be the motif world throughout the life of J. L.
Jensen. Meanwhile, the fabric of the attire is costly, iridescent pure silk taffeta that wraps itself around the
figure of the young woman. Her neck and shoulders are bare, while her arms are hidden by generous puff
sleeves that lavishly bulge to the sides. The sumptuous bosom of Signe Marie is both proper and daring
behind the heart-shaped dress seams that point towards her waist, where a broad waistband holds plentiful
amounts of fabric to the body, continuing downward, stopped by the picture frame’s lower edge, to suggest
a skirt of extravagant width.
Above this splendor, the young woman’s face shows itself as a newly sprung rose. Her simple jewelry
ornamentation is made up of a multiple-strand necklace of small, red corals, held together by a small
golden lock, along with slender gold earrings. A magnificent back comb of turtle shell crowns her skillfully
arranged coiffure. Signe Marie Jensen is aware of her dignity as a married woman; however, nothing can
overshadow the pride and joy glowing from every one of her fine facial features—seen and masterfully
interpreted by the one who paints her.
In the late
s, the portrait painter C. A. Jensen was at the height of his career. His sparkling presen-
tations of personas were vastly in demand among the bourgeoisie of Copenhagen. With their warm
humanity and buoyant character portrayals, they even outshone the so-admired marblelike and flawless
portraits by his colleague, Professor C. W. Eckersberg, in popularity. Later on, the works of C. A. Jensen
were to be criticized and even ridiculed by the most influential art historian of his day, N. L. Høyen, to the
degree that the portrait painter came to be ignored, and in the end, quite forgotten.
In his mention of Mrs. Signe’s portrait, the biographer of C. A. Jensen, Sigurd Schultz, praises the exact
aspects of the painter’s impressionistic painting technique that are valued highly today, but that Høyen
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