Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 281

   
   
,     ‒    
Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann was a talented, enterprising and determined woman, whose life was
unusual for her time. At the age of nineteen she began her training at Düsseldorf, which at that time
was one of the most important art centers in Europe, especially in the study of genre and history
painting. She also began exhibiting there and in
experienced her artistic breakthrough. She was
thus well advanced in her career when, during a visit to Rome the following year, she met the Danish
sculptor Jens Adolf Jerichau (
). He was one of the outstanding talents of the period and for
a short time had worked with the world-famous Bertel Thorvaldsen (
) before Thorvaldsen
left Rome in
. The couple married and moved to Copenhagen in
, where Jens Adolf became a
professor in the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.
To her amazement, Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann discovered that she was not given a positive
reception by her fellow artists there. These were the most intense years of national patriotism during
rst Schleswig war, and she encountered a powerful and concerted opposition in the art world
whose purpose was to protect the special Danish quality, that is to say the ideals of the Danish
Golden Age and the heritage from C.W. Eckersberg. Even as late as about
, the most important
subject of discussion in Danish artistic life was the relationship to other countries, i.e. the fear of
uence especially from Germany and France. However, Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann refused to be
intimidated and tried to
nd subjects that she believed would speak to the Danish public. The alle-
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, did not bring her the recognition she
deserved, although the painting quickly became known and reproduced. She had greater success with
portraits of important personalities of the time. Here her portrayals of the politician Orla Lehmann,
(The Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle) and Hans Christian Andersen must
be given special mention. She also repeatedly painted portraits of Christian IX’s Queen Louise
), herself a painter, and her daughters (The Amalienborg Museum). It is interesting to note
that these ladies corresponded with her.
Because of the “European” quality of her work, Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann remained a contro-
gure in Danish art. Not until
was one of her paintings,
En såret dansk kriger (A
Wounded Danish Warrior),
purchased by Statens Museum for Kunst. It remained the only one. Her
painting continued to be seen as alien and her personal behaviour did not conform to the strict norms
of bourgeois society as to what was
tting for a woman. She was not reserved, patient nor humble,
but keen to continue her career—although she gave birth to nine children! Several developed into tal-
ented painters, while others turned out to be mentally unstable. She has several descendants alive
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