Anton Melbye: Marine. Solen står nær horisonten, 1854. SMK

Towards distant horizons. Anton Melbye 200 years

9 March - 17 June 2018

Marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Anton Melbye, The Hirschsprung Collection joins the Altonaer Museum in Hamburg to present a major exhibition about the artist. Melbye enjoyed widespread fame during his own lifetime, and his works were in great demand among Danish royalty and aristocrats as well as among illustrious clients abroad, from Hamburg to Paris and Istanbul. Melbye found his main subject matter on and by the sea, often depicting his chosen motifs with a keen sense for drama and mood.

Today Melbye is best known as a painter of marines, but his oeuvre includes a range of landscapes. The environs of Paris were a particular favourite of his, but he also explored the dramatic landscapes of Turkey in drawings and oil sketches. The artist’s international career and his choice of themes that tied in with international movements gradually made him less popular within a Danish art political scene that was, by the mid-nineteenth century, increasingly pervaded by a contrast between the “nationals” and the “Europeans”. Art critics categorised Melbye as one of the “Europeans”. In an era when the grand narrative about Denmark as a nation and what it meant to be Danish was being established, the kind of art created by Melbye and other “Europeans” was out of synch with the dominant national narrative.

The exhibition about Anton Melbye presents an artist that has almost been forgotten. By presenting the first exhibition ever staged about Melbye in Denmark, The Hirschsprung Collection calls attention to an overlooked, but important story where the sea forms the backdrop of international connections and alliances, outlooks, emotions and dramatic political events.

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Anton Melbye: 'Rough sea', 1852. Ribe Kunstmuseum

The exhibition is supported by

15. Juni Fonden, Arne V. Schleschs Fond, Augustinus Fonden, Beckett-Fonden, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling, Dansk Tennis Fond, Dronning Margrethes og Prins Henriks Fond, Ernst og Vibeke Husmans Fond, Frimodt-Heineke Fonden, Inge og Asker Larsens Fond til Støtte af Almennyttige Formål, Knud Højgaards Fond, Lemvigh-Müller Fonden, Lizzie og Ejler Ruges Kunstfond, Oticon Fonden, Petra Schulze-Wessel, Skribsreder Carsten Brebøls Almennyttige Fond.