Exhibitions

Women of Surrealism
Franciska Clausen, Rita Kernn-Larsen, and Elsa Thoresen


15. September - 13. January 2019

WOMEN OF SURREALISM

Franciska Clausen, Rita Kernn-Larsen, and Elsa Thoresen

SEPTEMBER 15th 2018 - JANUARY 13th 2019

The fall exhibition shines a spotlight on three female Danish artists, who in their heyday made a name for themselves among the frontrunners of Danish Surrealism, but who were later more or less forgotten. The exhibition presents the three artist' major Surrealist works. 

Franciska Clausen, Rita Kernn-Larsen and Elsa Thoresen all drew inspiration from Surrealism and the great European art scenes of the time. Each in their way they were frontrunners within Danish Surrealism in the 1920s and 1930s, but while their male colleagues have taken up permanent positions in art history, today only few people are familiar with the three women and their work.

Kunstforeningen GL STRAND will change that with the ambitious exhibition: Women of Surrealism. Franciska Clausen, Rita Kernn-Larsen and Elsa Thoresen.

The exhibition makes Danish art history by exhibiting the three female artists side by side for the first time ever. Based in an evocative and colourful set design the exhibition presents a broad selection of their works – of which several have never been shown to the public before. This unique setting, presentation and selection of works unite the three women artistically, while at the same time exploring their diverse approaches to the principles of Surrealism.

REMARKABLE WOMEN

Franciska Clausen, Rita Kernn-Larsen and Elsa Thoresen were all significant female painters, whose paths crossed time and again in a time of artistic revolution. Early in life they all travel to the main European art centres to receive instruction from leading contemporary artists. They draw inspiration from the many new styles and Avant-garde trends of the 1920s, not least Surrealism. When Surrealism makes its entry in Denmark in the 1930s, they establish contact with the art scene and each other in Copenhagen. They each develop unique ways of expressing themselves through the principles of Surrealism and create dreamy, poetic and sensual works of a high quality. While many are familiar with the male Danish exponents for Surrealism – Vilhelm Freddie, Richard Mortensen and Vilhelm Bjerke Petersen, among others – today few are familiar with the impact of Franciska Clausen, Rita Kernn-Larsen and Elsa Thoresen within Surrealist art. For various reasons, the work of the three women falls into oblivion after their heyday. However, the work of both Clausen and Kernn-Larsen has been shown in retrospective solo exhibitions in modern times, but this is the first time the less well-known work of Elsa Thoresen is shown. The exhibition is organised by Museum Sønderjylland – the Art Museum in Tønder, Kunstforeningen GL STRAND and Art Historian, MA Johan Zimsen Kristiansen in cooperation. The latter is the curator of the present presentation of Elsa Thoresen.

‘The exhibition is in line with Kunstforeningen GL STRAND’s returning interest in female artists who, despite great talent, have more or less passed into oblivion in art history. Each in their own way the three artists are remarkable painters and women. They defy conventional contemporary views of women and thus risk their own social status – to go exploring and allow themselves to be inspired by the great artists of the time. Today their work, inspired by the principles of Surrealism, holds a unique strength, poeticism and sense of wonder. We look forward to giving the general public a chance to experience them’, says Helle Behrndt, Director of Kunstforeningen GL STRAND.

CATALOGUE

Women of Surrealism. Franciska Clausen, Rita Kernn-Larsen and Elsa Thoresen is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue containing several articles that offer new research perspectives on the impact of the three artists on Danish Surrealism and the impact of Surrealism on theirart. The Danish-language catalogue will contain reproductions of all exhibited works and is addressed to the general public as well as to art professionals. Co-authors: Art Historian, MA Johan Zimsen Kristiansen, Museum Curator at Museum Sønderjylland – the Art Museum in Tønder Søs Bech Ladefoged, Art Historian and Curator Nathalie Ernoult at Centre Pompidou in Paris, Museum Curator at Museum Sønderjylland – the Art Museum Brundlund Castle Morten la Cour and Art Historian and Exhibition Curator Gražina Subelyte.

The exhibition Women of Surrealism. Franciska Clausen, Rita Kernn-Larsen and Elsa Thoresen is shown at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND from 15 September 2018 to 20 January 2019. Subsequently, the exhibition travels to Museum Sønderjylland – the Art Museum in Tønder, where it is shown from 2 February to 2 June 2019.

Rita Kernn-Larsen, 'Festen', 1935. Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseum i Tønder

Elsa Thoresen, 'Objects of the Elements', 1935. Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseum i Tønder

Franciska Clausen, 'Fisken', 1926, Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseet Brundlund Slot

Elsa Thoresen, 'Klassisk Landskab', 1937. Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseum i Tønder

Franciska Clausen (1899-1986) De kolde skuldres land, 1932, Olie på lærred, Kunstmuseet Brundlund Slot – Museum Sønderjylland

Rita Kernn-Larsen, 'Spejlets Revers', 1937. Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseum i Tønder

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Rita Kernn-Larsen, 'Festen', 1935. Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseum i Tønder

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Elsa Thoresen, 'Klassisk Landskab', 1937. Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseum i Tønder

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Elsa Thoresen, 'Objects of the Elements', 1935. Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseum i Tønder

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Franciska Clausen (1899-1986) De kolde skuldres land, 1932, Olie på lærred, Kunstmuseet Brundlund Slot – Museum Sønderjylland

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Franciska Clausen, 'Fisken', 1926, Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseet Brundlund Slot

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Rita Kernn-Larsen, 'Spejlets Revers', 1937. Museum Sønderjylland - Kunstmuseum i Tønder