Art on Paper

From copper engravings and etchings to watercolours and drawings – at our theme auction you will find more than 78 works of art on paper. This includes works by the Danish Golden Age painters C.W. Eckersberg, Christen Købke, J.Th. Lundbye and later Danish artists such as P.S. Krøyer and Harald Slott-Møller.

An Intimate Insight into the Artists’ Work

Most artists have over the years used drawings as an important part of their creative process. The drawings are often the medium in which the artist can try out ideas and explore different methods and shapes. Some ideas become studies for later work, while others remain sketches. A common trait for this type of artwork is that the artist's personality and temperament are often revealed more clearly through the choice of materials and pen strokes. Whether it is a quickly drawn sketch or a carefully worked-out study for a larger piece, drawings can often give us a more intimate view of the artist's work method. The same intimacy applies to the graphic artwork produced throughout history where skilled craftsmen have carefully engraved, cut or etched directly on copper plates or wood. With these techniques, it became possible to make the art more available and accessible to people who would otherwise not be able to enjoy it.

The Shepherd Boy in the Danish Landscape

At the auction, some of Denmark's greatest Golden Age painters are represented, including J.Th. Lundbye and Martinus Rørbye. From Lundbye's hand, there is a small watercolour, which depicts a shepherd boy with his sheep. The drawing was made in March 1848, a month before Lundbye, who had enlisted as a soldier, was hit by a stray bullet and died at the age of 29. Rørbye delivers a similar motif with a watercolour of a boy guarding sheep. Both artists have each reproduced their figures in the well-known Danish summer landscape with blue skies, turquoise sea and grassy green hills. However, the compositions differ from each other in relation to the position of the figures in the images. Where Lundbye has placed the shepherd boy in the background standing on a ridge and above his sheep, Rørbye has placed his shepherd boy in the foreground lying among the flock of sheep. While Rørbye's boy looks directly at the viewer, Lundbye's boy looks out of the painting at an indefinable and distant place. A centrally placed ram has, on the other hand, a fixed eye on the viewer. One can clearly see how Lundbye, whose specialty was first and foremost painting animals, has attached more importance to the animals than Rørbye through the detailed reproductions of them and their location in the frame.

Martinus Rørbye: A shepherd boy rests while the sheep graze. Unsigned. Inscribed Martin Rørbye 1803–1848. Pencil and watercolour on paper. Visible size 18.5 × 20.5 cm. Estimate DKK 10,000-15,000.
J.Th. Lundbye: Study of a cow. Unsigned. Inscribed “Lethreborg Hovmark 12 August 1844". Drawing ink on paper laid on paper. Sheet size 15 × 16 cm. Estimate DKK 10,000-15,000.

Lundbye's Cattle Studies

The richness of detail seen in Lundbye's depictions of animals is also expressed in another work by the artist at this auction with one of Lundbye's meticulous cattle studies from 1844, entitled “Lethreborg Hovmark”, which depicts a standing cow seen from behind and the side. Throughout the summer of 1844, Lundbye created many studies of cattle. He wrote in his diary about the many considerations he made in trying to paint as naturalistically as possible, about the nature of the study itself, the art historian N.L. Hayen's opinion on this and the joy associated with becoming confident in one’s craft and gaining a truer sense of nature. But although Lundbye from a very young age enjoyed studying and painting the various animals, his diary also shows that it was not always easy to work with the four-legged creatures.

“I have studied the animals to the best of my ability, but it is a difficult subject as the models are so restless, and I can do almost nothing without the help from others. When I have to paint them, someone else has to hold the model and constantly turn and correct the animal in order to maintain the initial position.” 

Johan Thomas Lundbye's diaries, 28 July 1844.

Visit the Preview!

All the auction lots are on display at the preview at Sundkrogsgade 30 in Nordhavn throughout the summer until the auction day. Everyone is welcome!

Online Auction

Theme: Art on paper

9 August at 7 pm

For further information, please contact:

+45 8818 1111 ·