The Danish Collector: Delacroix to Gauguin showcases rich history of French art in Denmark

The story of the Royal Academy of Arts

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The Danish Collector: Delacroix to Gauguin, directed by David Bickerstaff, takes viewers on a journey to discover some of the best examples of 19th-century French art in one of the greatest collections ever amassed. Wilhelm Hansen and his wife Henny are probably best known for their incredible collection of French impressionists, but their endeavours started with Danish art.

Just over 10km north of Denmark’s capital Copenhagen, lies a majestic manor house containing their enormous haul of artworks from around Europe at his summer home, Ordrupgaard.

As they were building the house in the 1910s, they were also expanding their collection, and wanted Ordrupgaard to become their permanent residence, including the building of a purpose-built gallery.

The collection spans across the entire manor house, with paintings and sculptures from some of the most famous artists in the world hung from wall-to-wall, all still intact from their original placements.

Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark, Director of Ordrupgaard, praised the longevity of the residence and the stunning collection, highlighting its importance in the art world.

She said: “Most other places have not been preserved in their original condition, but Ordrupgaard remains as it was with its precious collections as well as its precious furnishings.

“Ordrupgaard has such cultural, historical significance. Very little has been altered thus you get a clear impression of how a manor house from around World War I was established and how it was run.

“When viewed in a Danish context this collector sets himself apart from his contemporaries as the collection was located in the home.”

Visitors to Ordrupgaard are greeted with an enormous property which had been carefully preserved by the Danish state after the 1950s.

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Almost everything in Ordrupgaard has been left in its original place, with the exterior, interior design and furniture all remaining the same.

Since then, the estate has been protected and even extended thanks to work from legendary architect Zaha Hadid, allowing the space to present massive exhibitions in special climate and security conditions.

The likes of Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne can all be seen at the gallery, as well as the namesakes of the film, Eugène Delacroix and Paul Gauguin.

The film takes viewers on a deep dive into Ordrupgaard and the history behind the property and the collection inside.

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