Luftfoto af Brundlund Slot

Franciska Clausen

Photo: VisitAabenraa

Artistic explorer: Franciska Clausen was ahead of her time on the Danish arts scene.

Franciska Clausen sought inspiration in Paris and Berlin, and returned home with an abstract and avantgarde style unknown in Denmark. Her birthday will be commemorated this year in Aabenraa.

She studied under the tutelage of the leading international artists of the day and developed a pioneering style that was completely new in a Danish perspective. In fact, it was so new that the art scene in Denmark didn’t really want anything to do with her when she returned to Copenhagen – and later her hometown of Aabenraa. 

»Franciska Clausen was a sort of artistic explorer, who struck out and discovered something she may not even have been fully aware of when she later returned to Denmark. Whatever she’d learnt in Paris, Berlin and Munich was in any case difficult to transfer to the Danish art scene because it was so new and avantgarde,« explains Sally Schlosser Schmidt, curator at Museum Sønderjylland.

Udsnit af "Udkast til en abstrakt komposition, 1927-31" Franciska Clausen
© Franciska ClausenPhoto: Fonden af Franciska Clausen
Franciska Clausen logo
Photo: Aabenraa Kommune

Dream eventually fulfilled

However, there’s more to the story of one of Denmark’s greatest artists, the museum’s curator points out. Although Franciska Clausen wasn’t initially recognised for her art in Denmark, she had a great reputation abroad – in addition to the fact that she was commissioned to paint a portrait of the current queen and eventually had her works exhibited at the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen.

»Five days before her death in 1986, the National Gallery of Denmark gave an undertaking to acquire a number of Franciska Clausen’s works, which was her overriding dream. The pictures still hang in the gallery – but a much bigger collection is in the hands of Museum Sønderjylland, and it’s these works that we’re using to produce an extensive exhibition
throughout 2024,« says Sally Schlosser Schmidt.

To mark Franciska Clausen’s 125th birthday on the 7th January 2024, Museum Sønderjylland and Kunstmuseet Brundlund Slot in Aabenraa presents a large exhibition of the artist’s works. The event also includes a number of activities for children, where the youngest guests will have the chance to play with shapes, portraits and light.

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