History of Kunstforeningen
It was a group of art-lovers in Copenhagen who decided at the beginning of the nineteenth century to found Kunstforeningen (The Art Society). Their goal was to support the art and the artists of the time. They were joined by the Golden Age painter Christoffer William Eckersberg and Denmark’s first trained art historian N.L. Høyen when the society was formally established in 1825. The model was the German art societies that had existed for some time in the major German cities. In the early years there were about 60 members. Today the Friends of Kunstforeningen GL STRAND count around 1700 members.
Then as now the aim of the society was to strengthen public awareness of art, as well as to set a new cultural policy agenda. Through lectures, support of the young artists as well as raffling off the art thus acquired among the members Kunstforeningen’s mission was to forge a link between the elite Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the broader public.
The exhibitions did not come into place until much later. Apart from a single exhibition in 1828 with works by the painter Jens Juel, the institution’s exhibition activities only began in 1884. Since then Kunstforeningen has held exhibitions every year with Danish and international artists.