Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Combining beautiful architecture, stunning sea views and a world-class modern art collection, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a wonderful place to visit if you are in Denmark. Located 25 miles north of Copenhagen, with sweeping views of the Swedish coast across the Øresund strait, this is one of the most spectacular settings imaginable for an art gallery.
So why the name ‘Louisiana’? This has nothing to do with the US State, and is instead because of three women each called Louise. The gallery is on the site of a villa of a local aristocrat, Alexander Brun, whose three wives each had the same name. Mr Brun decided to call the estate after them, and when the museum was founded, the name was retained.
Knud Jensen founded the museum in 1958 as a home for Danish modern art. The scope of the museum soon expanded though, to cover international works as well. Now, with over 3,500 pieces, this is one of the most prestigious collections of modern art in the Nordic region. The collection includes works by artists such as Warhol, Lichtenstein, Picasso, Hockney and Rauschenberg.
The design of the museum incorporates the original villa, with a stunning mid-century Scandinavian pavilion. Designed by architects Vilhelm Wohlert and Jørgen Bo, it took months of the architects walking around the property before deciding how best to fit in with the landscape. The original 1958 design incorporated three buildings connected by glass corridors, with additional extensions being added several times since.
As well as a concert hall, the museum includes a stunning sculpture garden. Works by Henry Moore, Henri Laurens, Joao Miro and Jean Arp are featured. The pieces are located so as to try to form a synthesis between the manicured lawns, the trees and the sea in the background.
The message of the museum is one of international collaboration, resulting in some world-renowned and high profile exhibitions over recent years. As a result, the Louisiana has achieved standing as one of the world’s most respected exhibition venues.
The site of the museum has contributed to its success – rural in its setting, but close to the cultural buzz of Copenhagen. The light from the broad vistas across the sea sweeps in through huge floor-to-ceiling windows, and creates a calm, inviting atmosphere. Outside, a large open terrace allows visitors to enjoy the Scandinavian sun in the summer months, another attraction and an unusual one for modern art galleries of this stature.
The museum can be accessed through a direct train from Copenhagen, and is even only a short journey from the Swedish west-coast city of Helsingborg, which is a short ferry ride away. So it is definitely worth considering for a visit, whichever side of the Øresund you find yourself on!