Til bevillingsoversigt

Maecenases of Modernism. Aspects of Private and Public Collecting and Funding for Danish Art Museums, 1875-1935

Special Research Projects


My project is about the unique Danish exchange and collaboration between private and public interests in establishing and maintaining a responsible and democratic art museum practice, representative of its time and contingent with general cultural and political views of the society in which this work is carried out. In this way, it is a story about the ascent of 'Modernism' as a dominant viewpoint in the cultural climate of Denmark. The analysis spans the gradual historical development of terms and practices, from the first staking out of private and public interest in 1875-1915, through a 'founding' period of more officially sanctioned guidelines (1920-35), concluding with a perspective to the nuanced and consensually based reality of today's Danish democratic climate in the arts.


Very little in-depth research has been applied to this field in DK, and by analyzing the main historical root factors of a long-established tradition of shared interests between private and public agents in the sector of contemporary art, this is a pioneer project. Its aim is a close examination of the very diverse elements which inform the present economic, social and psychological parameters of museum cultural ideals, practice and planning in this country.


The research in question will be carried out as a historical and art historical case study, seconded by an evaluation of the impact of key economic, political and media positions vis-a-vis the subject in the course of the period chosen (1875-1935). The method will comprise extensive archival and field studies, carried out in close collaboration with the museums, private and public art foundations and other relevant state or local government actors in this field.


Through this study, I hope to be able to convey especially the following two aspects to the general public and to decision makers in cultural politics: 1) historical knowledge and recognition of the unique Danish example of long-term planning and collaboration concerning the democratization of art and museum culture. 2) Awareness of this as a world-leading example of positive exchange and collaboration between private and public interests in art, the sharing of cultural values and debate. Both aspects are important for future global debate on the social and cultural meaning of art.