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Exhibition at Museum Kunst der Westküste celebrates Hans Christian Andersen
Henrik Tilemann (1835-1923), Hans Christian Andersen, 1865. ©Odense Bys Museer.

ALKERSUM.- Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75) is famous primarily for the fairy tales he wrote. And yet he left behind numerous drawings and as much as one thousand silhouettes. This exhibition presents for the first time photographic portraits of Hans Christian Andersen together with a selection of his silhouettes and drawings. A favourite of the European royal courts, Andersen was one of the most photographed figures of his time and a majority of the altogether 250 photographic portraits were taken at his own initiative. What all three forms of expression have in common is the immediacy and suddenness of the captured moment. The drawings convey episodic impressions of the artist’s travels, while the paper cut-outs are products of the poet’s imagination. The photographic portraits, in turn, show an aloof, yet sensitive, unstable and nervous artist – a self-image that Hans Christian Andersen staged over and over again and restlessly spread throughout the world.

As an important element of the exhibition, the Danish artists Ebbe Stub Wittrup (b. 1973) and Ulrik Heltoft (f. 1973) have produced a black and white film about Hans Christian Andersen’s silhouettes that animates the latter to create moving images. The exhibition is curated by the Danish photography historians Tove Thage and the artists in cooperation with the Museum Kunst der Westküste.

The Museum Kunst der Westküste (West Coast Art Museum) is a non-profit foundation. The museum collects, researches, communicates and exhibits art that deals with the themes of sea and coast. The point of departure is formed by the paintings collection of the museum’s founder, Prof. h.c. Frederik Paulsen, whose ancestors came from the Island of Föhr. With this museum he is able to express his close ties with the island and make his extensive collection, Sammlung Kunst der Westküste, accessible to the public.

The Museum Kunst der Westküste was conceived according to plans by renowned architect Gregor Sunder-Plassmann as a multipart museum complex uniting tradition and modernism in a harmonious whole. Six galleries provide a total of 900 square metres of exhibition space. As daylight floods into the cleverly designed buildings, the museum enters into an ever-changing dialogue with its rural environment. The complex also includes a museum garden and Grethjens Gasthof restaurant, built in the style of a turn-of-thecentury Scandinavian manor house.

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