The National Gallery of Denmark is enormous. The amount of art on exhibition would be impossible to view in one day. Hence I decided to restrict myself to the French Impressionists. The lady on the counter tried to persuade me to also visit the Danish impressionists. But when she told me there was a Rodin exhibition I decided to limit my visit to the French impressionists and Rodin.
This collection was donated to the museum by Johannes Rump (1861-1932) a Dutch collector. Most of the works were created between 1920 and 1930. Among the works are some of the most famous french impressionists. He also collected some non french impressionists who were working n Paris at the time.
The works collected by Rump would have been what I would have collected if I had been alive then and had sufficient means to be a collector. The works on display are stunning and beautifully lit making a visit extra special.
From the beginning Danish designers appear to have been influenced by Japanese design. The minimalist nature of Japanese design appealed to the Danes. They have always been renowned for their clean lines and simple design. The muted colour palette of the Japanese was also a strong influence. Earth colours were strong in both traditions. When the Japanese introduced motifs like waves the Danes followed with their own interpretations of waves. Shape for ceramics was also another strong influence.
But the Danes also evolved their own style.
There was also a large selection of modern Danish design. This exhibition presented furniture, utensils and many posters. Throughout the ages simplicity has always been the strongest influence. I noted an early radio, which was a white plastic cube with the ‘dials’ in a horizontal, rather than round, position. Chairs were always simple. Recent Danish design is heavily influenced by ecological sensitivity. Pieces of furniture are created from recycled material. One moulded chair caught my eye. It was made from recycled fibre and moulded into a chair shape. The result is an already upholstered chair. Recycled newspaper was cleverly moulded also into a chair.
I found the posters fascinating. There were many for concerts but also publicity posters. The design was, in general, quite geometric and almost always simple. Colours were kept minimal and straightforward.
I have wanted to visit this museum for a very long time for personal reasons. My grandfather was a printer as were several of his five brothers. I had not known this until, during family research, I found his death certificate where his profession was marked as printer. From there I extended the family research and discovered that several other members of the family had been printers. I knew my fathers brother was a printer before he gave it up to be a full time actor. I wanted to know, if possible, where they had worked in Dublin. The family was an inner city family so I assumed they must have worked somewhere in the city centre. I have put in a request to the museum to try to establish more information.
My recent reading of Type & Topogralhy by Phil Baines and Andrew Haslam has opened up so many areas which were completely new to me. In the museum the history of printing was clearly displayed and they had many machines including one of the original Gutenberg wooden printing press machine.The whole mechanism of linotype became clear when I saw the linotype machine. The very slow developments in the world of printing amazed me although I already knew this to be the case. Was this because the process of manually typesetting was pleasurable for those involved. I like to think of my ancestors enjoying their compositing. It appeared to me that only two major developments took place in about three hundred years. The ability to make lines of type ready for printing and being able to feed paper on rolls.
This was until the arrival of the computer which has changed the printing industry utterly. We are all now our own printers.
The terminology for the different steps in the printing process also became clear.
The machine on which the Irish proclamation was printed is also on display in the museum.
The guide pointed out some errors in the proclamation because of the haste in which it was set and printed.
Several sets of letter types are also held in the museum including a set of the old Gaelic script which I learned as a child. It was a great shame that this was discontinued because of the cost of special keyboards and printing.