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18.11.2020

Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen

Ordrupgaard - State Art Museum, located near Yogersborg Dairehave, north of Copenhagen, Denmark. The museum has one of the most significant collections of Danish and French art of XIX - early XX centuries in Northern Europe.

Originally Ordrupgaard was a county house, built in 1916-1918 by Wilhelm Hansen and his wife Henny Natalie Soelberg Jensen (1870-1951). Wilhelm Peter Henning Hansen was the general representative of Danish insurance company Gresham in Great Britain for two decades. In 1896 he founded the Danish life insurance company Dansk Folkeforsikringsanstalt. Later he also founded the international insurance company Mundus. In 1905, the Danish insurance company Hafnia appointed as its Managing Director. He held this position until 1936.

Wilhelm and Henny Hansen bought a large plot of land from Ordrup Krat, near Yogersborg Dairehave, north of Copenhagen, Denmark. Between 1916 and 1918 they built their majestic house Ordrupgaard, designed by the architect Gottfred Twede (1863-1947). At the same time, an extensive park was laid out by landscape gardener Valdemar Fabrizius Hansen (1866-1953). The Ordrupgaard was opened on September 14, 1918. In his opening speech, Wilhelm Hansen stated that the assembly would be handed over to the Danish state.

In 1922, Wilhelm Hansen suffered huge financial and personal losses. The "Landmandsbanken", where the Consortium took out loans for the purchase of works of art, collapsed. To pay off the debt, Wilhelm Hansen sold more than half of his French collection - about 82 copies. Among them were important works by Paul Cezanne, Edouard Manet and Paul Gauguin. Many of these works are now housed in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen and the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo. Wilhelm Hansen overcame the crisis and from 1923 to 1933 made up for his losses by purchasing new paintings, especially French ones, which are still in the Ordrupgaard.

After Wilhelm Hansen died in 1936, his widow Henny Hansen lived alone in Ordrupgaard. After her death in 1951, she left the collection, house and park to the Danish state, as Wilhelm Hansen wished. In 1953, Ordrupgaard was opened to the public as a state art museum.

August 30, 2005 Ordrupgaard company opened a new extension, designed by the architect of Iraqi origin Zaha Hadid (1950-2016). The annex is 1150 square meters in area and has improved the space, climate and security conditions, so that Ordrupgaard can now hold special exhibitions at the international level. The outhouse is built of glass and black lava concrete joined together to form a deconstructivist and organic body.

Originally Ordrupgaard was built as a three-wing lattice country house in the neoclassical style. The gallery, which houses the French collection, is connected to the main building by a small winter garden. In addition, a porter's house, driver's house (now demolished) and carriage yard (now called "Lavendelhuset" / Lavender House) were built. The barn and a small half-timbered arbor make up the rest of the original buildings of the manor.

The park at Ordrupgaard is designed in the English style with a small rosary in the French style, originally decorated with a ceramic fountain by Jean Gauguin (now located in the winter garden for reasons of nature conservation). The park at Ordrupgaard originally functioned as a vegetable garden, as well as a flower garden. Extensive crops and many fruit trees provided seven fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year, while the rest of the area was used for recreation and contemplation. From the gazebo you could see that at the far end of the park there was a small lake surrounding the island with a funny boat. Around the territory there were also small ponds, which have been falling asleep ever since.

From 1941 to 1942 furniture designer Finn Yul (1912-1989) designed and furnished his own house next to Ordrupgaard. It was one of the first functionalist single-family houses in Denmark. Here Finn Jühl lived until his death in 1989. Finn Jühl's widow, Hanne Wilhelm Hansen, left the house and its interior unchanged. On April 3, 2008 the house was opened as a separate, additional part of the Ordrupgaard Art Museum, thanks to a private donation from Birgit Lungbai Pedersen.

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