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Niels larsen Stevns Knowledge Centre

for the artist
opens at
Thursday 4th June 2009 at 1:00 PM

Architects C.F. Møller A/S represented by


Art consultant
Art historian, dr.phil.

A knowledge centre for one of the most important of the Danish painters of the 20th century, Niels Larsen Stevns, will be brought to light at Vendsyssel Museum of Art in Hjørring. One of the artist’s main works is found at the former county library in Hjørring. It was here that Niels Larsen Stevns in 1936 made six large frescos, a total decoration in what was at that time the reading room for adults. The decoration was a donation from The New Carlsberg Foundation and contains motives on heroic events in the history of the people of Vendsyssel.
When Vendsyssel Museum of Art by 2003 moved to larger and more up-to-date premises in a former clothing factory, the museum had to let the unique frescos go. However, this did not mean that the museum lost interest in Niels Larsen Stevns. All the time the artist has had a prominent place in the collections of the museum, containing art relating to Vendsyssel. The heavyweights in the connections are Johannes Hofmeister, Svend Engelund, Poul Ekelund, Agnete Bjerre, and Poul Anker Bech.

The new knowledge centre will lift the approved museum of art in Hjørring to another league – measured on content as well as architecture. Niels Larsen Stevns rank among the most important of the Danish artists of the 20th century. The long-standing research of the art historian, dr.phil. Mikael Wivel, including a doctoral dissertation on Niels Larsen Stevns, bears witness to this. Mikael Wivel has been attached to the establishment of the new knowledge centre. He, too, has organized the first hanging at the centre as well as the publication released at the opening on 4th June 2009.
The museum’s collection of works by Stevns has grown considerably within just a few years. The project has been backed by private collectors, The Heritage Agency of Denmark, and colleagues from museums around the country. This support has resulted in a number of appointments regarding long-term depositing of works by Stevns at Vendsyssel Museum of Art, and the possibility of more depositions in the future. This is a good example of how approved museums on the basis of the Danish law on museums can cooperate as one big ‘Art Museum Denmark’, one common knowledge resource.
Among the most comprehensive depositings is that of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art’s collection of works by Stevns. When this museum opened in 1958, it owned no less than 50 works by Stevns, and when the founder of Louisiana, Knud W. Jensen, in 1959 organized his first special exhibition, it was dedicated to Stevns. It contained almost 250 works, filled the entire museum and is still the largest ever of its kind.
Another large Stevns collection comes from Østsjællands Museum at Stevns. This museum did indeed for a number of years work on the establishment of a Niels Larsen Stevns museum. The plans were finally abandoned in 2005, after which the collection was transferred to Vendsyssel Museum of Art where it in now part of the knowledge centre.

Thanks to financial support from Realdania, Vendsyssel Museum of Art has been able to realize the wish for a more than 300 square metre extension for the knowledge centre.
Architects C.F. Møller A/S represented by Anna Maria Indrio are the architects on the extension. It was the same company who were architects on the very successful and much commended conversion of the industrial complex Bechs Klædefabrik into Vendsyssel Museum of Art in 2003. Realdania regards this conversion as a particularly successful example on how to make use of older factory buildings for modern purposes such as a museum. Therefore it has been quite natural for the Foundation to support the extension for the Niels Larsen Stevns knowledge centre. Furthermore, Realdania finds that the C.F. Møller proposal for the centre is a architecturally gentle project, showing how one can add to the already very tight, aesthetic and authentic museum building. Realdania finds that the extension with the glass prism at the same time supply an aesthetic boost to the motley backyard environment next door to the museum.
It might be added that Vendsyssel Museum of Art as something quite exceptional is furnished entirely with Poul Kjærholm furniture. Thus, it is possible to see a large selection of his production in the exhibition rooms.

Yours faithfully,
Vendsyssel Museum of Art

Chairman of the Board, Mr. Troels Bidstrup Hansen: or 98 92 33 11
Museum Curator, Ms. Marianne Ilkjær: or
98 92 41 33