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Twelve monochrome paintings donated to Moderna Museet
Robert Ryman, Untitled, 1969 © Robert Ryman Photo: Prallan Allsten/Moderna Museet Bildupphovsrätt.

STOCKHOLM.- Claes Nordenhake, who has been a gallerist since 1976 in Malmö, followed by Stockholm and Berlin, is also an art collector. He is now donating twelve abstract paintings from his collection to Moderna Museet. All works are monochromes, or in other words, they concentrate on one colour.

The chosen works reflect Claes Nordenhake’s personal fascination with monochromes. Olle Bærtling’s painting Dynamique Noir Bleu from 1954 had a seminal impact on his own understanding of art. Early in his career, Nordenhake took an interest in concrete art and examined how modern painting could be developed. When geometric abstraction seemed to him to have reached a dead end, he began studying contemporary painters who explored their own medium and colour as a flow. Here, he found new approaches that convinced him both conceptually and visually.

“Claes Nordenhake is an unusual collector. He noted that visitors stopped coming to his gallery in the 1980s because they felt all the works looked the same. Today, we can see that his eye for the miniscule differences is what has made his own collection so remarkable. His donation is of great philosophical value and documents a moment in the history of painting in a very precise way,” says Daniel Birnbaum, director of Moderna Museet.

The donation is a substantial boost to the collection, since it consists mainly of paintings by artists who were not previously represented at Moderna Museet.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to present modern classics such as the American artist Robert Ryman to future visitors. Marcia Hafif’s work is another exciting enhancement to our collection. And the almost monochrome painting by Olle Bærtling is a true gem,” says Ann-Sofi Noring, co-director of Moderna Museet.

All the paintings in Claes Nordenhake’s donation will be shown in a room at the Museum later this year. This spring, however, you can already see Olle Bærtling’s Dynamique Noir Bleu in connection with the exhibition Concrete Matters, featuring Latin American concrete and neo-concrete art.

“A gift like this is a demonstration of my gratitude for having been able to work as a gallerist in a fairly congenial environment where Moderna Museet has been the guiding light. However, gifts are rarely entirely altruistic, so I have decided to go public with my name, rather than make an anonymous donation. Hopefully, this might encourage other collectors to follow my example,” says Claes Nordenhake.

Donated works
• Olle Bærtling, Dynamique Noir Bleu, 1954, oil on canvas
• Stefan Baumkötter, O.T., 1997, oil paintstick on canvas
• Alan Charlton, Two part corner painting, 1989, acrylic on canvas
• Marcia Hafif, Transparent Painting: Ultramarine Blue, 1982, oil on canvas
• Joseph Marioni, Painting No #7, 1983, acrylic on canvas
• Ingo Meller, Untitled, 2005, oil on canvas
• Robert Ryman, Untitled, 1969, oil on fiberglass
• Phil Sims, RGBY (Red) and RGBY (Green), 1983, oil on canvas
• Frederic Matys Thursz, Vermilion II, 1983, oil on canvas
• Alan Uglow, Standard III, 1993, acrylic on canvas
• Günter Umberg, Ohne Titel, 1975, poliment, pigment and damar on wood
• Magnus Wallin, Are you in pain... Not anymore, 2016, blood powder, acryl on aluminium

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