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On the Edge of the World

Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark


Sep 14, 2019 - Jan 19, 2020

Our cafe Freya will feature a special Danish aquavit cocktail September 13–15 in celebration of the exhibition.

Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen does not believe in a single, clear-cut truth, but for him the famous Danish painter L. A. Ring is among the few who come very close to depicting such truth. Prior to entering On the Edge of the World: Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK—The National Gallery of Denmark, visitors can watch four films narrated by Mikkelsen about Ring’s contribution to modern art. You can read an article about the films shown as part of the exhibition here.

SMK produced a short video exploring L. A. Ring's works, which you can view here.

An excerpt from the SMK exhibition press release is below.

L.A. Ring has been a key figure in the international breakthrough of Nordic art. His works are represented in major shows dedicated to art from around 1900, but despite his importance this will be the first exhibition devoted solely to Ring’s art shown outside the Nordic countries. 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.

Rings paintings testify to the radical artistic and cultural shifts that took place in the decades around 1900, more so than the works of many other artists from the period. Meeting the modern world head on, Ring is the one Danish artist to best describe the great changes in the world of art and in society taking place in the decades around the year 1900. The upheaval can be seen everywhere. Often as a restless search for something different and perhaps more meaningful.

In Ring’s works, man often occupies a transitory zone—a threshold—whether at a garden gate, a window, a railway crossing, or on a road. It may be a young girl who is entering adulthood, or an old one who is close to death. Painted on the threshold of modern life, Ring’s works contain “the new” as concrete objects, as motifs, but they also reflect “the modern” as a state of mind. Eminently relatable, his art has a universally human quality. Showing everyday life around 1900, it resonates with American history as it also tells the story of many European emigrants who settled in the U.S. around 1900.

“In American emigrant culture, one finds a relationship with nature and place that is so pronounced and significant in L.A. Ring’s paintings. Feeling a lifelong connection with a personal, primordial, yet-abandoned ur-landscape is also, and for good reason, a recurring theme among several American artists during the first half of the 20th century. With its depictions of vast landscapes and modern urban life in an America undergoing major transformations, American realism and naturalism has strong parallels to Ring’s production,” explains Peter Nørgaard Larsen, Senior Researcher and Chief Curator at SMK, the National Gallery of Denmark.

Please note: there is an additional $5 charge to view this temporary exhibition.

On the Edge of the World: Masterworks by Laurits Andersen Ring from SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark is organized by SMK in collaboration with AFSMK – American Friends of SMK. Presentation of the exhibition at the National Nordic Museum and 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, Hermod Lannungs Museumsfond, Arne V. Schleschs Fond, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Meltwater, Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, Arcus, Fritz Hansen, Ilse Jacobsen Hornbæk, IFS - International Flight Support, 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 SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst.

Thank you to our additional exhibition sponsors, including: Barbro Osher, 4Culture, Arts Fund, City of Seattle, and Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.


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