Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

May 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

louisiana
I saw a lot of wonderful art on our recent trip to Denmark and Germany. It rained about half the time we were in Copenhagen, but it was a perfect day when we took the train up to the town of Humlebæk to visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

“This place is like Disneyland for art geeks,” my husband said when we arrived, and it’s true.

The Louisiana is located 35km outside of Copenhagen – an easy trip by train and a chance to get out of the city and see the countryside. I also enjoyed watching the Europeans and their adorable train rituals (invariably, delicious-looking packed lunches come out as soon as the doors close!).

louisiana trees and coast

The view of the ocean is what surprised me most. I’ve never been to a museum where you are also so close to nature. As much as I love wandering within white walls, inside gets stuffy after a while. At the Louisiana when that happens you go outside to admire the gardens, the beach, the sculpture park, the oceanside cafe. And eat open-faced sandwiches. I wish I’d taken a picture of mine – marinated mushrooms, radishes, sprouts, spicy aioli – it was a thing of beauty all on its own.

louisiana window to outside

The art was wonderful. Hilma af Klint‘s paintings were on display while we were there. She is a Swedish artist who painted in the early part of the 20th century. The museum had a retrospective of her work on display – everything from botanical drawings to 30,000 pages worth of notebooks to large abstract paintings.

hilda the largest

The latter were my favourite – huge, pastel-coloured canvases filled with motifs like swirls and snail shells. The images are guided by a symbol and colour system that linked back to her preoccupation with spiritual ideas like mediumship, mysticism and theosophy. Hilda used methods like seances and automatic markings to guide her art-making – a little woo-woo to be sure, but fascinating and it resulted in beautiful work.

hilda sketchbooks

The saddest thing was that her abstract paintings were never shown during her lifetime. Rudolf Steiner, who followed similar philosophical and spiritual beliefs, told her the world was not ready for her work. She took the advice to heart and put a clause in her will that her paintings could not be exhibited until many years after her death. Much of her work is being seen for the first time now. Many artists are very famous for painting pictures the world wasn’t ready for – usually male artists, it seems. I felt lucky to see the show, but so regretful for the success she might have known had she not listened so carefully to what seems like very bad advice.

hilda roses

The Louisiana has a great permanent collection as well, but Hilda stole the show for me.

More museums should be like the Louisiana – it’s well worth a visit even if you don’t care much about art.

louisiana through the trees

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Entry filed under: Art, Travel. Tags: , , , , , .

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