ALKERSUM/FOHR.- The West Coast Art Museum
, located in Alkersum on the North Frisian island of Föhr, is devoted to studying the art and cultural history of the theme of sea and coast and presenting its findings to the public.
The collection of paintings belonging to the museums founder, Dr. Frederik Paulsen, forms the starting point for exhibitions mounted in cooperation with both national and international partners. The collection contains works that impressively demonstrate mans fascination with the maritime world as reflected by a panorama of motifs from the 19th to the early 20th century, ranging from Bergen in Holland to Bergen in southern Norway.
Here the works in the historically oriented West Coast Art Collection enter into a fruitful dialogue with important historical and contemporary positions in European art.
The collection currently comprises some 480 paintings and works of graphic art. Executed between 1830 and 1930, the pictures in the collection document in a variety of manners what life is like along the continental North Sea coast. They tell of the timeless grandeur of the sea, the longing for the far-off horizon and mans fear in the face of the intractable elements.
Important Scandinavian and German artists of the 19th and 20th centuries are represented, including Anna K. Ancher, Michael P. Ancher, Max Beckmann, Johan C. C. Dahl, Peter S. Krøyer, Christian Krohg, Max Liebermann, Emil Nolde and Edvard Munch.
These are joined by high-calibre Dutch painters such as the Romantic artist Andreas Schelfhout as well as prominent exponents of The Hague School, among them Jozef Israëls and Hendrik Willem Mesdag.
Also in the collection are works by Johan B. Jongkind and Eugène Boudin, who are regarded as precursors of Impressionism and were of central importance to the development of European landscape painting in the 19th century. Finally, a main focus of the collection is North Frisian painting, comprehensively represented by the works of Otto H. Engel and Hans P. Feddersen.
The West Coast Art Museum was conceived according to plans by renowned architect Gregor Sunder-Plassmann as a multipart museum complex uniting tradition and modernism in a harmonious whole. Five separate galleries, designed to the highest standard, offer exhibition space of over 750 sqm.
The museums architecture addresses in a differentiated fashion local building and landscape history by integrating existing buildings, quoting historical barns and making tangible to visitors the difference in levels between the sandy coastal heathlands and the lower marshland.
The complex, built between 2006 and 2009, also includes a museum garden and Grethjens Gasthof, built in the style of a Scandinavian manor house from the period around 1900.
Carrying on its traditional function as a meeting place for artists working on Föhr and a location where both natives and guests congregate, this building now houses the museum restaurant.