Founded by citizens of Aarhus in 1859, Aarhus Kunstmuseum is Denmark’s largest art collection outside Copenhagen.
The museum owns notable collections of Danish art that span 300 years plus a noteworthy contingent of modern art. Particularly worthy of mention among the eighteenth century paintings are the works of N.A. Abildgaard, while nineteenth century representatives of the Danish “Golden Age” include Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, Christen Købke, Johan Th. Lundbye, Jørgen Roed, Martinus C. W.Rørbye, Wilhelm Marstrand and P.C.Skovgaard. Figures within National Romanticism include Jørgen Sonne,Julius Exner and Christen Dalsgaard, while landscape painting is represented by Janus la Cour. Within Social Realism, Frants Henningsen and Edvard Petersen stand out. From the turn of the century, the museum has an estimable collection of major works by Vilhelm Hammershoi alongside important works by P.S. Krøyer and J.F. Willumsen.
The advent of modernism in the 1900s is fully manifest in the works of Harald Giersing, Edvard Weie, Olaf Rude and Vilhelm Lundstrøm, alongside the powerful landscapes by Jens Søndergaard, Niels Lergaard and Oluf Høst. A key component in the representation of abstract art is the museum’s Richard Mortensen Collection in conjunction with Robert Jacobsen’s sculptures – works that are complemented by the expressivist art of Svend Wiig Hansen and that of the richly imaginative Asger Jorn as well as the other Cobra painters.
The art of the modern age finds expression in the museum’s important collections of work by Bjørn Nørgaard and Per Kirkeby while not least the later work of the Danish “Neue Wilden” is also well represented. The most recent work down to the present reflects the introduction of an international dimension into the collection, and includes works by Miwa Yanagi and Carsten Höller, among others. Installation art too has made its entrance through names such as Olafur Eliasson, Tony Oursler, James Turrell, Bill Viola and more.