On the Trail of Antiquity!

For centuries, artists have looked to the ancient world of Greece and Rome in their search for inspiration. Many Danish painters have travelled to Southern Europe to get closer to the aesthetic heritage of antiquity and some even brought home artefacts to their private collections. This year's Golden Days festival in Copenhagen also carries the theme of antiquity, and we look back at the same period at our upcoming Live Auction.

On Wednesday 22 September at 2 pm we travel back to antiquity at this autumn's Live Auction in Copenhagen. The focus is first and foremost on a number of antiquities from the sculptor J.A. Jerichau's collection, but we also auction off six chairs with designs directly based on the furniture of antiquity.

Art and the Eternal City

What is more obvious than a trip to the Italian capital, if one is drawn to the world of antiquity? Rome was the centre of art in the 19th century and attracted artists from all over Europe. Here they stood on the shoulders of the rich culture of the Roman Empire and could study the architecture and aesthetic creations of antiquity simply by taking a walk around the Eternal City. The Danish sculptor J.A. Jerichau travelled to Rome in 1838, and the city's winding streets, palaces, churches, and overwhelming relics of the past blew him away. It got even better when he during his stay met the world-famous sculptor and fellow Dane Bertel Thorvaldsen, who recommended the only 22-year-old young artist to learn more about antiquity. Inspired by the master's advice, Jerichau established an impressive collection of 350 antiquities, which he kept in his studio Palazzo Lovati on Piazza del Popoli. The collection was the largest in Danish ownership and only surpassed by Thorvaldsen’s own collection and that of the brewer and art collector Carl Jacobsen. After Jerichau's death, part of his antiquities came into the possession of philosophy and sociology professor Claudius Wilken. The 11 antiquities offered at the auction appear original, unspoiled and without restorations. Read more about Jerichau's collection.

"… Begin your work by diving into antiquity."

Bertel Thorvaldsen's advice to the 22-year-old J.A. Jerichau

Max Bendixen: "The Panther Hunter, Jens Adolf Jerichau", 2018

Artist Chairs with Legs Planted Firmly in Antiquity

Antiquity influenced more than the visual arts because up through the 19th century, furniture art also looked to the Greek and Roman classical civilizations for inspiration. At the auction we have six Klismos chairs, which were inspired by the chairs used by Greek women. The chair legs swing out from under the seat, and the back piece is shaped like a horizontal arch. The artists of the time had been able to study this piece of furniture using motifs from ancient friezes and ceramic vases. 

Jørgen Roed: A set of four Klismos chairs of walnut with black upholstery. Made in the 1840s. Estimate: DKK 75,000-100,000.

Four of the auction's Klismos chairs were made by Jørgen Roed, who is best known as one of the great Danish Golden Age painters. However, he was a bit of a multitalented artist who also designed furniture, silverware and jewellery. He resided in Italy during the years from 1837-41 and again from 1861-62, where he studied the cultural heritage of antiquity. This probably led to the design of the offered walnut chairs from the 1840s. He designed most of the furniture for his own private home, and like his paintings, his furniture design is characterized by an exquisite quality both in craftsmanship and materials. Therefore, a similar copy of the offered chair can be found in Designmuseum Danmark's collection. N.A. Abildgaard was another artist who was interested in antiquity and designed furniture with inspiration taken from the period. He is most likely the man behind the auction's fifth Klismos chair from around 1850 and made in beechwood, while the sixth chair has been owned by Carl Jacobsen. He was the founder of the Carlsberg brewery and was a passionate art collector and patron.

Live Auction

Antiquities and antique furniture

Wednesday 22 September at 2 pm

For further information, please contact:

Alexandra Nilsson (antiquities): +45 8818 1164 · ani@bruun-rasmussen.dk

Henrik Schleppegrel (antique furniture): +45 8818 1145 · hsc@bruun-rasmussen.dk

Anders Fredsted (antique furniture): +45 8818 1142 · afr@bruun-rasmussen.dk