Friday, 8 March 2013

Emma Meyer (Mayer) 1888 Nordic Exhibition

In 1888 the Nordic Exhibition in Copenhagen was held to promote the Industrial, Agricultural and Artistic products of Scandinavia. Worries for Denmarks economic progress lay on the basis for organising this promotional “Expo of the North”, an effort drawing attention, visitors and capital to the capital. 
In the wake of this Nordic Exhibition Heinrich Hirschsprung (1836-1908) a self made tobacco millionaire and art maecenas, collector and personal friend of most contemporary Danish painters had the smart idea of organizing a parallel Art Exhibition to show, in the Charlottenborgh Castle, his important Danish art collection. 
The Charlottenborgh Castle is since earliest days the home of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Every year exhibitions were and still are held in spring and a successful career as an artist began and begins here. In 1883 a new exhibition hall was added and build for the purpose.
After Hirschsprung’s death his extensive collections of Danish Art were to become part of the already important and famous Danish National Collection of International Art started in the 18th century and to accommodate it a new building was build near the National Gallery. 
I remember a perticular discussion in the Blog concerning the alleged use of photography in the etchings of Anders Zorn (1860-1920). In 1990 the opening of files in the Hirschsprung collection revealing a century(!) later the great Peder Krøyer (1851-1909) used photography in Denmarks most famous iconic and treasured paintings after buying his first camera in 1885. Krøyer painted his friends family in 1881 (above), probably without photographic aid, although the scene looks very much staged, everybody in it trying to behave extremely casual. 
In the 1885 Charlottenborgh exhibition among the many works of art and artists exhibiting was a young, still landscape painting, Edward Munch (1863-1944) and sisters Emma Leonora and Jenny Sofie Meyer. It was the year the idea for the Nordic Exhibition to be held in 1888 first arose in which the sisters were also present. Jenny Meyer was and still is famous for her applied art of painting for the Royal Danish Porcelain Factory. I'll tell more about them in next posting.  
Emma painted her sister Jenny at work at the Royal Kopenhagen Porecelain Company. Following the scarce facts on the www she is considered an important Danish women painter and belonging to a group named “the Pioneers”. More details on such a group I was not able to find.  But more about Emma and Jenny in next posting.
Sonderaften pa Skagens Sonderstrand, 1893 by Peder Krøyer

Read here* more about the use of photography in Krøyers paintings after 1885. 

The pictures in this posting show our ancestors didn’t go about these things half hearted. The efforts and expenses to organize big events like this, open for just a few months, in a world without flying machines, automobiles, telephone or radio must have been enormous. For the occasion even Tivoli was rented, locations cleared, new buildings designed, build, rebuild or destroyed afterwards. On the cleared exhibition grounds soon after Copenhagen's new Town Hall (Rådhus) and Square (Rådhuspladsen) was build.

Also held in Europe in or around 1888:
The Glasgow Exhibition on Science, Art and Industry: 5,7 million visitors
The Great Exhibition of Old Masters held in 1888 in the Royal Academy in London.
The London American Exhibition (1887) during Queen Victoria’s golden Jubilee (with the Buffalo Bill show): 2,5 million tickets sold.
And a year later in 1889 the World Expo in Paris, with the infant Eiffel tower, was held drawing over 6 million visitors. 

Next: Emma Meyer (1859-1921) Danish painter and unexpected woodblock printmaker.

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly and educational use only. 


  1. I am charmed by the Copenhagen Town Hall! It's grand, beautiful, and elegant! I always have a thing for splendid buildings, and as a photographer based in San Francisco, I very much admire the San Francisco City Hall!