Press release September 2018
Agnes Slott-Møller - Heroes and Heroines
29 September 2018 until 6 January 2019, level 5
A key Danish symbolist and debater. Agnes Slott-Møller was one of the strong artist figures of the nineteenth century, who made her mark as a woman in a male-dominated environment. Her heroes and heroines can now be seen in an exhibition at ARoS.
From the end of September 2018, ARoS shows the exhibition Agnes Slott-Møller – Heroes and Heroines. The exhibition presents, for example, Agnes Slott-Møller’s famous portrayals of the life and times of Valdemar II Victorious and monumental works thematising Danish folk ballads.
- In one sense, Agnes Slot-Møller was part and parcel of the modern breakthrough. In another, she had a melancholy longing for the past. This presented a complex figure and artist. She held a key position in Danish symbolism and her search to rediscover a strong Danish identity in times marked by unrest is reminiscent of the interest in national symbols prevalent today. This is, therefore, both a vital and timely exhibition, says Erlend G. Høyersten, museum director, ARoS.
Historical motifs and folk ballads
The exhibition Agnes Slott-Møller – Heroes and Heroines presents 69 works, chiefly divided into two main groups: works with historical motifs and works with motifs from Danish folk ballads.
In the historical paintings, Agnes Slott-Møller explores the heroes and heroines from Danish history. She painted the key figures such as Niels Ebbesen, Queen Margrete 1, and Valdemar II Victorious whose reign she considered to be a historical high spot. She created a series of six paintings detailing the life and times of this king.
The other category of works comprises motifs from the folk ballads.
- Agnes Slott-Møller opens up an intimate and sensitive world in her folk ballad paintings where the motifs reveal a melancholy mythological world of legends and where women often play key roles as heroines in the narratives. The folk ballad paintings reflect her ambition to create motifs enabling modern man to dream about pre-industrial times, says the exhibition curator, Jakob Vengberg Sevel, curator, ARoS.
Briefly about Agnes Slott-Møller
Agnes Slott-Møller (1862 – 1937) was married to the Danish painter Harald Slott-Møller (1864 – 1937). She studied at the Tegne- og Kunstindustriskolen for Kvinder (the Women’s School of Drawing and Decorative Arts) between 1878 and 1885 and also received tuition from the painter P.S. Krøyer (1851 – 1909).
Agnes Slott-Møller belongs in the symbolist movement, which originated in France at the end of the nineteenth century. From 1891 until 1900, Slott-Møller was affiliated to the artists’ community Den Frie Udstilling (the Free Exhibition) as a founder member, often adding her strong opinions to the public debate at the time.
In connection with the exhibition, ARoS will be publishing a catalogue featuring articles by: Iben Overgaard, MA (history of art) who will give an overview of Agnes Slott-Møller’s biographical and art-historical development; Lis Møller, associate professor, Aarhus University, School of Communication and Culture - Comparative Literature, places Agnes Slott-Møller in a contemporary European movement of medievalism, and finally Jakob Vengberg Sevel, curator, ARoS, who outlines Agnes Slott-Møller’s spiritual kinship with Georg Brandes and Friedrich Nietzsche and their perception of ‘aristocratic realism'.
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