A detail, an instant, a quiet moment or a coincidence may at first glance seem insignificant but can later leave a decisive imprint in our consciousness. Often it is the little things that make the big difference in life.

The exhibition THE GREAT IN THE SMALL presents a selection of works from the museum’s own collection. The works span nine decades and contain everything from painting and sculpture to ceramic reliefs and tapestries. Common to them is that the basic is elevated to the main narrative itself, where the smallest narration becomes important and meaningful in itself.

With dreamy intensity, a mood is conveyed on the border between day and night, light and darkness, in Berit Hjelholt’s (1920-2016) image weaving Impuls (Impulse) from 1987, while in Søren Elgaard’s (b. 1951) motifs one will experience that the world is splintered into facets, where the artist strives to capture the vibrant space of the big city. In Arne L. Hansen’s (1921-2009) Et midsommerdøgn på Skagen Nordstrand set mod Grenen (A Midsummer Day on Skagen Nordstrand seen towards Grenen) from 1975, the artist depicts something as elementary as the twenty-four hours of the day reproduced on pieces of wood that have been polished and washed in the waves and bleached by the light at Skagen. The paintings Chet Baker I and II were created by Poul Winther in the period 1988-1991 as a tribute to the jazz trumpeter and singer Chet Baker (1929-1988). In the paintings, the same arrangement of objects is depicted in a light and a dark version, respectively, and the meeting between the two works illustrate a universe of similarities and differences, and where music as a source of inspiration forms the basis for the painting’s compositional unfoldment.

The works in the exhibition can be regarded as the artists’ individual tribute to everyday life – to observations of the physical framework in which life unfolds, and to the people, we surround ourselves with. In other words, they are reflections of life, where the artists in their own way have taken note of the great in the small.



Søren Elgaard · Svend Engelund · Emil Gregersen · Arne L. Hansen · Peter Hentze · Berit Hjelholt · Johannes Hofmeister · Helge Holmskov · Britta Madsen · Erik Nørgård · Kaj K. Nørkjær · Torbjørn Olsen · Mads Dahl Pedersen · Erik Rasmussen · Bent Skytte-Rasmussen · Ernst Syberg · Poul Winther · Carlo Wognsen · Gustaf Wolmar


In 2021, visual artist Emil Gregersen (1921-1993) would have turned 100 years old. On that occasion, the museum will open its doors next year to a FOCUS exhibition with a selection of the artist’s works. For Gregersen, the painting exists as a dynamic space, where experience is expressed employing a colour, line, shape and surface, and where all visual elements have equal significance and weight. As a prelude to the FOCUS exhibition in 2021, three works by the artist will be shown at the exhibition THE GREAT IN THE SMALL.

The exhibition is on show from 2 September 2020