“Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK” Exhibition and Related Programs

Above: Laurits Andersen Ring (Danish, 1854-1933), At the French Windows: The Artist’s Wife, 1897. Oil on canvas, 75.2 x 56.7 in. KMS 3716.

The Bruce Museum is pleased to present the international exhibition On the Edge of the World: Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK—the National Gallery of Denmark, which opened to the public on Saturday, February 1, 2020.

L.A. Ring (1854-1933), a Realist and Symbolist painter, ranks among the most significant figures in Danish art. The national gallery of Denmark holds the largest collection of Ring’s paintings and drawings; Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK showcases 25 of his most important paintings.

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of special programs and events, beginning with a Conservator’s Talk: Aspects of L.A. Ring’s Working Methods, on Sunday, February 2, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm. Dr. Jørgen Wadum, former Director of Conservation at Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK) and current Director of the Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation in Denmark, will discuss how an examination of the complex structure of materials and techniques beneath the visible “skin” of Ring’s paintings reveals fascinating details about the artist’s process and intent.

On Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Patricia Berman, the Theodora L. and Stanley H. Feldberg Professor of Art at Wellesley College, will speak on L.A. Ring, Denmark, and the Threshold of Modernity. Her presentation examines Ring’s prescience as both an eyewitness to and a participant in late 19th-century culture, and the importance of Copenhagen as part of a robust exchange among European art circles.

Professor Berman has published widely and curated exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. Her books include In Another Light: Danish Art in the Nineteenth Century, and studies of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch and of the Belgian James Ensor.

The March 10 program is free to Museum members and to students with ID, $15 for non-members. Reservations required; visit this page at brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376.

On Thursday, May 14, 7:00 – 9:00 pm, world-renowned pianist and improvisational artist Nikolaj Hess will perform Impressions of L.A. Ring: On a Threshold, a concert at the Museum reflecting on the themes in L.A. Ring’s artistic universe.

Based in both New York and Denmark, Hess is known through works produced in connection with the Nikolaj Hess Trio, Marc Mommaas, Hess/AC/Hess Spacelab, Caroline Henderson, Hess is More, and Etta Cameron. He has played and recorded with a long list of international jazz legends in Europe, the U.S., Canada, Israel, and Asia. Reception with light bites and beverages at 7:00 pm; concert begins at 8:00 pm. Reservations required; Museum members $30; non-members $45. Further details about the performance will be shared on brucemuseum.org.

The Museum is also hosting a series of art workshops related to the exhibition. Geared to participants over the age of 55, the workshops will be led by teaching artist Eddie Nino and will include in-gallery introductory remarks by Corinne Flax, Manager of School and Community Partnerships, focused on each workshop topic: “Value,” on Monday, February 24; “Color,” on Monday, March 16; and “Composition,” on Monday, April 20. The workshops will take place 1:30 – 3:30 pm; all materials will be provided, and light refreshments will be served. The cost for a single session workshop is $25 for Museum members, $30 for non-members. Visit the calendar section at brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376 for details and to register.

Initiated by the American Friends of Statens Museum for Kunst, the national gallery of Denmark, Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring provides an unprecedented opportunity for U.S. audiences to see the work of this great Nordic artist. The exhibition travels to only two U.S. venues. The Bruce Museum is the only one on the East Coast.

Speaking about this first exhibition outside Scandinavia to be solely devoted to L.A. Ring, Mikkel Bogh, Director of 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.”

Ring’s paintings capture this changing world, poised between traditional values and modernism. His early Symbolist paintings of people at work in the landscape are quiet and still, meticulously organized, and yet charged with a strong feeling of spirituality.

“Although Ring lived in Denmark all his life, aspects of his art find parallels in the work of America’s great realists Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Andrew Wyeth,” says Robert Wolterstorff, The Susan E.  Lynch Executive Director. “All these artists combined a rigorous precision of design with a sense that deeper meaning lies just beneath the surface. All were keenly interested in how people living at the turn of the 20th century handled the existential challenges arising as a result of the modern world.”

The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday, February 1. Museum members at the Patron level and above are invited to an Opening Celebration on Friday, January 31, 7:00 – 8:30 pm. An All Members Reception will take place on Tuesday, February 4, 5:30 – 7:00 pm. To RSVP or to join, contact Membership Manager Laura Freeman at 203-413-6764 or lfreeman@brucemuseum.org.

Presentation of the exhibition at the Nordic Museum in Seattle and the Bruce Museum in Greenwich has been made possible by the generous support of Mary and 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. Schleschs 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 and patrons of the AFSMK – American Friends of Statens Museum for Kunst.

The Bruce Museum is grateful for exhibition support from Amica Insurance and a Committee of Honor Co-Chaired by Ellen Flanagan, Simone McEntire, Betsey Ruprecht, Patricia W. Chadwick, and Susan and Torben Weis. Honorary Chair is John L. Loeb, Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. Additional exhibition support is provided by Maryann Keller Chai and Jay Chai, Ambassador and Mrs. John L. Loeb, Jr., Sylvia and Leonard Marx, Jr., the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund, and the Connecticut Office of the Arts.