Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 248

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“Blomster-Jensen” (“Flower Jensen”) is the popular nickname given to Johan Laurentz Jensen. He
made several thousand
ower paintings and decided on the genre as his specialty while still studying
at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He was admitted to the Academy at the
age of fourteen, as was quite typical. The son of the parish clerk in Gentofte, then a village north of
Copenhagen, he had such an obvious talent that he encountered no opposition from his parents when
he chose to become an artist. His basic training in the life class culminated with the minor and then
the major silver medals after three years of study. He learned
ower painting with C.D. Fritzsch
), who in his youth was a friend of the great Danish sculptor Thorvaldsen (
Fritzsch’s scenes of Copenhagen street life were the models for C.W. Eckersberg’s youthful works in
that genre. As a
ower painter, Fritzsch worked in the classical Dutch tradition with tightly composed
bouquets in vases such as are seen, for instance, in the work of Jan van Huysum (
We know only
ower and fruit pieces by Jensen. An unsigned painting from the Botanical Gardens
then situated behind the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts at Charlottenborg in Copenhagen has
been attributed to him, but the attribution has subsequently been disputed, and a portrait, (sold by
Arne Bruun Rasmussen auction
, no.
) is probably not a self-portrait, but a portrait painted in
by his namesake Johannes Jensen (
Jensen made his
rst appearance in the Academy’s annual exhibition at Charlottenborg in
and with a traveling bursary he was able to make a trip to Paris.
Since the Empress Joséphine had acquired the palace of Malmaison in
, France had been expe-
riencing a great fashion for
owers. She had all kinds of
owers, especially roses, imported and cul-
tivated, and she created a scienti
c milieu in which botanists and artists worked together, one
achievement of which was the publication of some splendid botanical works illustrated by Pierre-
Joseph Redouté (
), including one devoted to the rose.
Redouté succeeded his teacher Gerard van Spaendonck (
), who was a pupil of
van Huysum, the Maître des Dessins in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. It is possible to imagine Jensen
participating in these courses in drawing and painting, which were open to the public. We know that
he sent a copy of a
ower painting by van Spaendonck along with drawings of live
owers to the
crown prince of Denmark. It is tempting to imagine that it was in this fascinating milieu that he
chose the rose as the
ower around which his entire production is grouped.
While in France, Jensen spent some time in Sèvres, where he learned porcelain painting, which
later resulted in an appointment to the Royal Porcelain Manufactory in Copenhagen (
). That
year he became a member of the Academy, and ten years later he was given the title of professor. He
retained his connection with his native town, where he owned a small summer residence. There he
taught his numerous pupils, among whom was the subsequent Queen Louise, married to Christian IX,
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