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Denmark’s Ordrupgaard art museum reveals expansive subterranean extension

Ordrupgaard art museum's new extension

Ordrupgaard art museum’s new extension, which opened earlier this month, has created five new underground galleries totalling 823 sq m, which means it can now show its entire collection of French Impressionist art.

The state-run art museum was originally built as a three-winged country mansion in the neo-classical style during World War One – opening as a museum in 1953 – and in 2005 was expanded by a modern glass and black lava concrete extension for special exhibitions, designed by Zaha Hadid.

Located in Charlottenlund just north of Copenhagen, Ordrupgaard has one of the finest collections of French art in northern Europe. It also has a considerable collection of 19th and 20th century Danish art including artworks from what is known as the Danish Golden Age.

French Impressionist art at Ordrupgaard

The museum specialises in French Impressionism, featuring artists such as Monet, Renoir and Gauguin and three of the five new galleries are dedicated to this collection.

Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark, museum director, Ordrupgaard, said: “We’re delighted to be able to reopen Ordrupgaard’s valuable collection of French art in a supreme new setting – truly a work of art in itself.

Showing the collection in its entirety

“We’re grateful that it’s now possible to show the collection in its entirety while, at the same time, safeguarding it for the benefit of future generations. Ordrupgaard’s new building elegantly embraces the history embodied in this place, opening up new opportunities for the benefit of all.”

Norwegian design and architect firm Snøhetta designed the new extension at Ordrupgaard in collaboration with the consulting engineers COWI and EKJ Rådgivende Ingeniører. An energy upgrade project has also been completed to reduce Ordrupgaard’s overall energy costs.

Inside Ordupgaard art museum

The extension also functions as a new entrance to Ordrupgaard and the roof of the subterranean building is a sculptural steel structure with a surface finish that refracts the light and the sky and leads towards the original house.

“The new building links Ordrupgaard as a whole, leading museum visitors around the collections in a circular movement, forming a noble unification with the architect Zaha Hadid’s building from 2005,” said Snøhetta’s founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.

“The new extension creates a holistic and continuous path throughout the entire museum and its surrounding park and gardens. The design further lives up to the highest international standards when it comes to exhibition design and art conservation and display, providing a comfortable and intuitive museum journey that is accessible for all.”

Danish architect Finn Juhl’s house

The museum’s park features work by international contemporary artists as well as Danish architect Finn Juhl’s house, complete with his sculptural furniture designs including the Chieftain Chair and the museum also offers a virtual tour.

Finn Juhl's house

Ordrupgaard was built in 1918 by avid art collectors Wilhelm and Henny Hansen who opened their house up to the public once a week and are recognised as creating Denmark’s first modern art museum. In the 1950s the house, land and collection was bequeathed to the Danish nation.

Ordrupgaard’s also hosts temporary exhibition and its current exhibition Tal R – Home Alone presents new works by the internationally renowned contemporary artist Tal R and runs until 19 September.

This will be followed by an exhibition of works by Swedish artist Anders Zorn (1860–1920) titled The Best Under the Sun, which runs from 1 October to 9 January 2022.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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