GREENWICH, CT – The Bruce Museum is pleased to present the international exhibition On the Edge of the World: Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK—the National Gallery of Denmark, opening to the public on Saturday, February 1, 2020.
L.A. Ring (1854-1933), a Realist and Symbolist painter, ranks among the most significant figures in Danish art. The national gallery of Denmark holds the largest collection of Ring’s paintings and drawings; Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK showcases 25 of his most important paintings.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of special programs and events, beginning with aConservator’s Talk: Aspects of L.A. Ring’s Working Methods, on Sunday, February 2, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm. Dr. Jørgen Wadum, former Director of Conservation at Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK) and current Director of the Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation in Denmark, will discuss how an examination of the complex structure of materials and techniques beneath the visible “skin” of Ring’s paintings reveals fascinating details about the artist’s process and intent.
A fine example, says Wadum, is the exquisite, large portrait of Ring’s wife Sigrid, known as At the French Windows: The Artist’s Wife. An X-radiograph of the painting shows that many details of the composition were changed during the execution of the image. One of these is particularly striking, Wadum suggests in an article on Ring’s painting techniques co-authored by Pauline Lehmann Banke and Troels Filtenborg. It is evident that the railing of the terrace and the garden steps were fully completed before the figure of the woman was painted on top of it. Despite being the central feature and object of the whole composition, she was the last element to be added, consistent with Ring’s technique of finishing off the setting before adding the narrative element.
Dr. Wadum’s talk on Sunday, February 2 is free to Museum members and visitors with paid admission. Reservations are required; visit brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376.
On Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Patricia Berman, the Theodora L. and Stanley H. Feldberg Professor of Art at Wellesley College, will speak on L.A. Ring, Denmark, and the Threshold of Modernity. Her presentation examines Ring’s prescience as both an eyewitness to and a participant in late 19th-century culture, and the importance of Copenhagen as part of a robust exchange among European art circles.
Professor Berman has published widely and curated exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. Her books include In Another Light: Danish Art in the Nineteenth Century, and studies of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch and of the Belgian James Ensor. The March 10 program is free to Museum members and to students with ID, $15 for non-members. Reservations required; visit brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376.
On Thursday, May 14, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, world-renowned pianist and improvisational artist Nikolaj Hess will perform Impressions of L.A. Ring: On a Threshold, a concert at the Museum reflecting on the themes in L.A. Ring’s artistic universe.
The Museum is also hosting a series of art workshops related to the exhibition. Geared to participants over the age of 55, the workshops will be led by teaching artist Eddie Nino and will include in-gallery introductory remarks by Corinne Flax, Manager of School and Community Partnerships, focused on each workshop topic.
Initiated by the American Friends of Statens Museum for Kunst, the national gallery of Denmark,Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring provides an unprecedented opportunity for U.S. audiences to see the work of this great Nordic artist. The exhibition travels to only two U.S. venues. The Bruce Museum is the only one on the East Coast.
Speaking about this first exhibition outside Scandinavia to be solely devoted to L.A. Ring, Mikkel Bogh, Director of SMK, says: “It is part of our mission at SMK to inspire and spark creative thinking by making the art of our collection known to a wider audience, which includes audiences outside the Nordic region. L.A. Ring was a sensitive and profound interpreter of the changing conditions of human existence at the threshold of modernity, in Denmark and elsewhere. We believe his painting has an appeal to U.S. audiences and that his works, while embedded within specific geographic and historical circumstances, speak to us today in a powerful artistic language that matters as never before.”
Ring’s paintings capture this changing world, poised between traditional values and modernism. His early Symbolist paintings of people at work in the landscape are quiet and still, meticulously organized, and yet charged with a strong feeling of spirituality.
“Although Ring lived in Denmark all his life, aspects of his art find parallels in the work of America’s great realists Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Andrew Wyeth,” says Robert Wolterstorff, The Susan E. Lynch Executive Director. “All these artists combined a rigorous precision of design with a sense that deeper meaning lies just beneath the surface. All were keenly interested in how people living at the turn of the 20th century handled the existential challenges arising as a result of the modern world.”