Harvest, 1886, L. A. Ring, oil on canvas, The National Gallery of Denmark

Has it Stopped Raining? 1922, L. A. Ring, oil on canvas, The National Gallery of Denmark

The Painter in the Village, 1897, L. A. Ring, oil on canvas, The National Gallery of Denmark

Lady at Karrebaeksminde Beach, Zealand, 1898, L.A. Ring, oil on canvas, The National Gallery of Denmark

The Lime Man, The Old House Refurbished, 1908, L. A. Ring, oil on canvas, The National Gallery of Denmark

On the Edge of the World: Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK—The National Gallery of Denmark

February 1, 2020 - May 24, 2020

Following an extensive, five-month-long renovation of its changing gallery spaces, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, is pleased to present a major new international exhibition, On the Edge of the World: Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK—The National Gallery of Denmark. Initiated by the American Friends of Statens Museum for Kunst, The National Gallery of Denmark, the exhibition opens on Saturday, February 1, 2020, and will be on view in the Museum’s newly expanded Love Gallery through Sunday, May 24, 2020.

L.A. Ring (1854-1933), a Realist and Symbolist painter, is considered one of the most important Danish painters in the decades around 1900. The National Gallery of Denmark holds the largest collection of Ring’s paintings and drawings in the world; On the Edge of the World showcases 25 of the most important pieces that represent the key themes and sheer variety and complexity of his oeuvre. The exhibition is currently on view at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle through January 19, 2020.

Speaking about this first exhibition solely devoted to L.A. Ring outside the Nordic region, Mikkel Bogh, Director of The National Gallery of Denmark (SMK), says: “It is part of our mission at SMK to inspire and spark creative thinking by making the art of our collection known to a wider audience, which includes audiences outside the Nordic region. L.A. Ring was a sensitive and profound interpreter of the changing conditions of human existence at the threshold of modernity, in Denmark and elsewhere. We believe his painting has an appeal to U.S. audiences and that his works, while embedded within specific geographic and historical circumstances, speak to us today in a powerful artistic language that matters as never before.”

Through his art, Ring described a time of great upheaval in Denmark. The processes of industrialization caused major changes to the labor market; new enterprises flourished, and people moved from the country to the cities. Denmark was on the way to becoming a modern society.

Although L.A. Ring lived in Denmark all his life, his works display certain parallels to the landscapes of American realism and naturalism. And just as L.A. Ring was keenly interested in how individual man handled the existential challenges arising as a result of the modern breakthrough, so too were many American artists of the time.

Poised between realism and symbolism, L.A. Ring’s art explores mankind’s inner life, which for him was often infused by depressive ideas and melancholy moods. Death and the passing of all things is a recurring theme in his art – including his many Zealand landscapes, which come to form personal, densely atmospheric landscapes of the soul.

However, other themes – of closeness and intimacy – also found their way into his art after he married the love of his life in 1896: Sigrid, eldest daughter of master potter Herman Kähler.

Both aspects of Ring – his melancholy air and his joy in life – are represented in the exhibition, Edge of the World: Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK—The National Gallery of Denmark.

It’s a rare opportunity to meet a highly gifted Nordic artist with a view on nature and modern life that corresponds with American Naturalism and Impressionism. The exhibition appeals to art lovers as well as Americans in general, as it portrays the life of many European emigrants settling in the U.S. around 1900.

The Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen has been appointed as the ambassador for the exhibition. Regarded as one of Denmark’s most talented actors, Lars Mikkelsen is known for his portrayals of a range of edgy, seductive, and historic characters. International audiences will know him from the American Netflix series House of Cards, which he joined in the third season to play Russian President Petrov. He was recently awarded the prestigious International Emmy award for his role in Herrens Veje (The Ride of the Storm). 

In five small films incorporated in the exhibition, Lars Mikkelsen reflects on the artwork of L.A. Ring and the key themes that represent the painter’s oeuvre. 

The Edge of the World exhibition at the Bruce will also include a unique in-gallery concert reflecting on the themes in L.A: Ring’s artistic universe. Internationally renowned jazz and improvisational pianist Nikolaj Hess will paint a modern impression of one of Denmark’s most celebrated artists. Scheduling details of this special event and other related programming will be posted on brucemuseum.org

The Bruce Museum is grateful for exhibition support from the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund and the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

Presentation of the exhibition at the Nordic Museum and the Bruce Museum has been made possible by the generous support of Mary & Greg Moga. Additional support has been provided by Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, Queen Margrethe’s and Prince Henrik’s Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Scan|Design Foundation, the Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation, Arne V. Schlechs Foundation, Hermod Lannung Museum Foundation, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Meltwater, SAS Cargo, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, ArcusGruppen, Fritz Hansen, Ilse Jacobsen Hornbæk, International Flight Support ApS, Beck Global Consulting, Embassy of Denmark in Washington D.C., The Consulate General of Denmark in New York, and board & patrons of the AFSMK – American Friends of Statens Museum for Kunst.