“Kentaurpige” (Centaur Girl), 1902. Signed AMC-N f. Brodersen; foundry mark L. Rasmussen, Copenhagen. Patinated bronze. H. 33 cm. W. 30 cm. D. 13.5 cm.
A version of the sculpture is in the collection of Odense Bys Museer and exhibited at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, October 2021 - February, 2022.
Literature: Einar Utzon-Frank; “Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen. Skitser og Statuetter”, Hirschprungs Forlag, Copenhagen, 1943, ill. p. 79.
Literature: Anna Manly and Emilie Boe Bierlich (eds.): “Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen”, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Strandberg Publishing, Copenhagen, 2021, the version in the collection of Odense Bys Museer (Odense City Museums) ill. p. 83.
Right from the outset, Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen was a modern and strong-willed woman who pursued an artistic career – at the same time she helped provide for her family at different times. She was educated at the School for Drawing and Applied Art for Women in 1882 and later enrolled as a student at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts' Art School for Women from 1889–90. Even though women were only allowed equal access to education many years later, Carl-Nielsen became a well-known name on the international art scene. She participated in the World's Fair in Paris in 1889, where her exhibited sculptures were seen by her role model Auguste Rodin, and on the same occasion she met Jens Ferdinand Willumsen. The latter meeting developed into a lifelong artistic and personal relationship. Her importance for the professional struggle of female artists is indisputable. She was a co-founder of the Danish Women’s Artist Association (KKS) and later also of the artists' association Den Frie Exhibition. At the same time, she was the first female sculptor in the world to be given the prestigious task of creating a monumental equestrian statue of a king.
Already at the age of 12, Carl-Nielsen picked up a lump of clay in her family’s garden and modelled her first lamb. She eventually achieved great acclaim for her many animal statues and sketches, based on an empathetic knowledge of their anatomy as well as a great deal of ingenuity. On a study trip to Paris in 1891, she met the composer, Carl Nielsen. They married quickly and stayed together in a marriage and cohabitation that was stormy and, in many ways, ahead of its time. For long periods, the couple lived apart as both were more dedicated to their art, and despite a great sense of affection between them, the marriage was marked by infidelity and heartache.
“The Centaur girl”, which is up for auction and can be found in another version at Odense City Museums, is modelled on the couple's maid – with whom Carl Nielsen had a long-term affair. The story only came to the sculptor's attention after the model was made, but with this new knowledge, she decided never to exhibit the figure before after the passing of Carl Nielsen. It exudes vitality and a sensual drive for life. The young girl leans back alluringly and stretches her back in an arc, which reveals her heavy bosom – while the lower body with four stretched horse legs and a knot on the tail is moving forward at a brisk pace.
Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen's works are currently on display at an exhibition at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek until February 2022.