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08.11.2020

Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

Hirschsprung Collection is an art museum located on Stockholmsgade in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is located in a park area in Ostre-Anlong, near the Danish National Gallery, and it houses a large collection of Danish art of the XIX and early XX centuries. Emphasis is placed on the Danish Golden Age, from 1800 to 1850, but also well represented artists Scagen and other representatives of the modern breakthrough.

The museum is built around a personal collection of works of art by Heinrich Hirschsprung, a tobacco manufacturer and philanthropist who founded his art collection in 1865. Almost four decades later, in 1902, he presented it to the Danish state. It is exhibited in a specially constructed neoclassical museum building, designed by Hermann Baage Storck and completed in 1911.

Heinrich Hirschsprung was a tobacco manufacturer at AM Hirschsprung & Sønner. He was married to Pauline Hirschsprung, and the couple had a deep interest in art and had many outstanding artists of their time among their close friends, including the writer Holger Drachmann and the artist Peder Sønner Kroyer, both of whom were associated with the Scagen colony. Over four decades, starting in 1866, Hirschsprung has collected an extensive collection of Danish art from the early 18th century to the present day.

The collection was first shown to the public in 1888 in Charlottenborg. This was due to the Scandinavian exhibition of industry, agriculture and art, which was to attract many foreign visitors to Copenhagen. The exhibition catalog included 313 exhibits, representing about 60 Danish artists. About half were paintings, the rest were drawings, watercolors, pastels and some sculptures.

In 1900, Pauline and Heinrich Hirschprung decided to donate their collection of art to the Danish state. They drew up a deed of gift, which was deposited with the Danish Ministry of Culture. However, the donation was not made public until two years later, in 1902, when the collection was exhibited in Charlottenborg again. At the same event, art historian Emil Hanover was appointed responsible for cataloguing the collection. The Charlottenborg exhibition also included visualizations of the planned museum building designed by architect Hermann Baage Storck. Not liking the historicist style that dominated museum architecture in Copenhagen at the time, it was critical for Hirschsprung that the collection be housed in a separate building, built in a more "restrained" style. He wanted the museum to stand on the ground left open by the now demolished ramparts around Copenhagen, where a number of new museum buildings were built at the turn of the century, including the recently opened National Gallery in 1899.

Under the terms of the donation contract, the Danish state and the city of Copenhagen, for their part, were to provide the land and building for their exhibition. This scheme was similar to the one agreed in connection with the Carl Jacobsen Foundation "s from Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek . However, Hirschsprung's demand for an independent building sparked a political debate about art policy that lasted for several years and postponed the plans.

While the debate continued, Hirschsprung continued to add to the collection with acquisitions such as the cartoons by Joachim Skovgaard for the decoration of the Vyborg Cathedral and a number of works by contemporary artists such as Michael and Anna Ancher and Wilhelm Hammerschey from the collection of collector Alfred Bramsen. Collection. Some individuals also promised to donate works from the collection when it becomes public property, while others were acquired by Hirschprung on the condition of the same event.

In 1907, negotiations were finally completed and the construction of the Storck project could begin in 1902. Eventually, a place was chosen in Østre Anlg, a park that was built on the territory of the former city fortifications and where the National Gallery was also built. Heinrich Hirschprung died the following year, in 1908, and so his museum never materialized. Emile Hanover, an art historian who compiled the catalog of the collection, was responsible for the interior design of the museum, as well as for curating the exhibition. He hanged the paintings in chronological order, in the spirit of Hirschsprung.

To make the collection a representative exhibition of Danish 19th century art, Hirschprung also began to add sculptures to his collections, using as an advisor to the sculptor and family friend Ludwig Brandstrup. In less than a year, Hirshprung managed to collect the vast majority of the 180 sculptures included in the 1902 catalog. The collection includes 20 Danish sculptors.

The Hirschsprung collection was opened to the public in 1911. Pauline Hirschsprung attended the official opening on July 8, but died the following year.

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