Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 75

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In the period between
, Otto Bache was a highly regarded and extremely productive his-
torical painter. He worked on classical foundations, and a large proportion of his oeuvre was known
in his day through reproductions, something that ensured him continuing popularity. Bache was con-
servative in the best sense of the word, restrained and charming, not merely “able and solid” as he has
been described. His many commissions were for works conforming closely to the wishes of his clients,
and his brush had to be guided by duty, even though in his youth he had been among those who took
an interest in modern French painting.
Otto Bache was the son of a grocer and as a child showed such an unusual gift for drawing that
by the age of ten he was already being sent to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where he had
Wilhelm Marstrand as his teacher and where he graduated at the age of seventeen. In his early youth
he worked as a genre and portrait painter. On a scholarship from the Academy, he studied in Paris
) and was given responsibility for the Danish art section in the world fair.
Paris (Cart Horses, Paris),
painted during this period, shows how receptive he was to new impres-
sions, but he never managed to accept the revolutionary new art forms that soon followed. He spent
in Italy.
In Denmark, a portrait commission from a Danish landowner became Bache’s introduction to a
social class committed to the national questions of the day and in addition was assiduous in buying
and commissioning art. Fresh commissions opened up the possibility for him of developing as an ani-
mal painter.
Et kobbel heste uden for Lindenborg Kro,
(A Group of Horses Outside Lin-
denborg Inn)
which was bought by King Christian IX, won him great acclaim. In
, the
landowner Count Mogens Frijs commissioned
Slutningen af parforcejagten på Frijsenborg,
(The End of the Hunt at Frijsenborg),
an impressive work in a large format with numerous
horses, horsemen and hounds, completed in
Bache’s name is especially associated with Frederiksborg Castle at Hillerød, originally built in the
th and
th centuries. This royal castle burned down in
, with the tragic result that two-thirds
of the royal collection of portrait paintings going back to the
th century were lost. It became a mat-
ter of national importance to rebuild the castle, the reconstruction of which is due to the architect F.
Meldahl (
). I.C. Jacobsen (
), the brewer who earned a vast fortune in the Carlsberg
Breweries, saw it as his duty to make a contribution, and he donated enormous sums of money with
the intention of
tting out the castle as a museum of national history, a task in which he was
In the age of historicism, this was done by reconstructing historical interiors in which original art
from an earlier age and new historical paintings should together recall the history of Denmark as it
was seen in the age of national romanticism. Bache’s
rst commissioned work in
was the dra-
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