Portrait of the artist's son Peter. Head en face towards the right. Body in half profile to the right. Standing. Hand grips a sabre hilt at the left hip. Black velvet hat with black strings and black tassel. Light blond hair, bright eyebrows, blue iris. Long-sleeved black coat, white shirt collar. Dark green background with a dim light behind the contour of the figure's back and out from the left shoulder – with an indefinite deep shadow to the right. C. 1846. Unsigned. Oil on canvas. 70×54 cm.
Sigurd Schultz, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of C. A. Jensen no. 386.
Exhibited: Presumably Charlottenborg 1847 no. 18, “Portræt af en Dreng” (Portrait of a boy).
Presumably, “International Exhibition 1862”, London, Fine Art Department, no. 1520, “Portrait of a Child”.
Kunstforeningen, “Arbejder af Maleren Chr. Albr. Jensen”, 1922 no. 123. Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening, Stockholm, “Utställning av Dansk Konst från 1800-talets förra hälft” 1922 no. 82.
Literature: Presumably Tom Taylor, “Handbook of the pictures in the international exhibition of 1862”, London 1862, p. 163.
Sigurd Schultz, “C. A. Jensen”, 1932, vol. I, mentioned pp. 392–395, reproduced p. 391.
Provenance: Art dealer Martin Grosell, his estate auction, Winkel & Magnussen 111 (part II), 1932 no. 67, reproduced p. 15.
Martin Grosell (1882–1932) was a well-known art dealer and art collector. His collection, which was sold in 1932, consisted of the finest of Danish art in the 19th century.
Photo from Grosell's living room, where the painting can be seen p. 90 in the present catalogue.
Sigurd Schulz writes in his book about C.A. Jensen that the son in the portrait was named Peter and lived from 1835 to 1915. He worked as a naval architect and patent agent in London. In the painting, Peter is approx. 10–11 years old. Schulz writes the following about the painting: “The portrait is a clear example of the great bodily gestures of this era in Jensen's painting. The boy turns in opposing movements within the space of the painting, and at the same time, he lifts his head, focusing his blue eyes calmly, carefree, and slightly self-conscious on the viewer. The light falls with a powerful effect on his face, so that it leaps out of the dark background with a dimmed sheen from the above light, while deep shadows and the characteristic grey tones in the light’s weaker illuminated areas push the figure forward. That the face aligns with the surface of the image creates posture. The light collects all the movement and gives the figure an appearance of plastic energy and the plastic an effective synthesis – an at once tangible and slightly supernatural reality. Even the errors in the composition – the left side of the head, which is not aligned with the right side, the over-sized hand – have their purpose, because they seem to be justified in a true artistic understanding of how the various parts of the image should balance each other out.” (pp. 392–394).
Here Schulz manages to put into words how dramatic and effective the portrait of the son appears – almost theatrical – which is quite unusual for C.A. Jensen's portraits.