Exhibition of beautiful works and important paintings by Alhed Larsen
Alhed Larsen dealt with the art-historical motifs typical of women in the form of flowers, arrangements, interiors, and window views, but she also painted individual landscapes and a number of garden paintings. An unartful but sensory and present colorism is characteristic of her work. The best paintings bear witness to a great artistic talent with regards to color and light, and her pastel works constitute a very special niche in the art history of the Funen people. Although Alhed Larsen’s output is not the most prolific, she created important paintings with great significance for the story of Funen and especially for the overall story of the artist couple on Møllebakken. The exhibition shows works from museums and private collections, including paintings and pastels that have not previously been known by the public or exhibited. In addition, the first major, research-based biography of Alhed Larsen has been published.
An underrated and less-covered artist and painter
Alhed Larsen belongs to the inner circle of the artist group fynbomalerne. Yet she is a less-covered and partly underrated artist who deserves renewed attention. Both her life course, especially her childhood and adolescence, and her importance as a painter and pastel artist are areas that have only to a lesser extent been described and explored. So far, she has mostly been loved and known as one half of one of the 20th century’s best-known artist couples.
Alhed, born Warberg, grew up in a large family and had a background in a classic estate environment on South Funen. Already as a young woman she showed artistic abilities and through her relationships, travels, and social circle she got an important introduction to art. She married Johannes Larsen in 1898, and together they created the unique environment and cultural gathering place on Møllebakken in Kerteminde. Johannes Larsen was and is the place’s main artist, but Alhed’s significance was great.
Alhed Larsen – a modern painter and talented artist
For her time, Alhed Larsen was a modern woman and artist with considerable talent in a time of cultural unrest and upheaval. She was backed by her husband, but her role as hostess and mother as well as general opposition to the recognition of the female exhibitors constituted obstacles to her career, just as she did not have the same constant need to paint as e.g. Christine Larsen (Swane). Alhed became an artist-hostess, both loved, celebrated, and mythologized, which has secured her a fine but also partly one-sided legacy.
First and foremost, Alhed Larsen was completely her own and an exciting and wide-ranging human being, an artist who deserves her own important spotlight. In recent years, we have in a Danish context experienced an increased focus on female artists and on art history and the museums’ treatment of not only women in art, but in particular art created by women. The Funen Painters – and here Alhed Larsen’s life – is a key period in this context, where life, work, and place merge in a timeframe of great fascination.
Biography and presentation of Alhed Larsen
The Johannes Larsen Museum has published a research-based biography on Alhed Larsen, which is partly a biography and partly a treatment of Alhed Larsen’s artistic output. The museum has an extensive source material, letters, etc., which is the basis for much of the research and thus presents new knowledge about Alhed Larsen’s life and work. This material is also included in the site Sources for Danish Art History. The art-historical parts of the book illuminate Alhed’s artistic output, her world of motifs, and exhibition activities.
Furthermore, the Johannes Larsen Museum offers various presentations, activities, and events in relation to “Alhed Larsen 150 years”.