- Museum number
- Object: Council for the propagation of Danish beauty in foreign lands
Gestural composition of several seated human and zoomorphic figures placed in three zones of red, blue and green. 1952
Colour woodcut and linocut printed on thin off-white paper.
- Production date
Height: 370 millimetres
Width: 450 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from Frances Carey, 'Modern Scandinavian Prints', BMP 1997, no.95:
'Council for the Propagation of Danish Beauty in Foreign Lands' distilled Jorn's seething vocabulary of forms into his most ambitious print so far, redolent in its title and content of the ironies he perceived in his situation. From the autumn of 1950 to the early spring of 1951, Jorn and his family lived in conditions of abject poverty at Suresnes, a suburb of Paris, in a hostel known as La Maison des Artistes Danois which was administered by a committee in Copenhagen. When tuberculosis and malnutrition forced Jorn to return to Silkeborg, he construed it as a personal defeat; nevertheless, the respite his medical care and convalescence afforded from incessant hardship, together with the studio facilities provided by the town, enabled Jorn to turn this period to excellent artistic account. Out of these circumstances Jorn achieved a new understanding of his relationship with Denmark and Silkeborg in particular; this was demonstrated by his decision to endow the latter with a museum collection of his choice, and by his comments in a letter of 1952 to his fellow artist Mogens Balle (born 1921) that even though an artist may spend most of his life away from his native background, he must recognise the strength and identity he derives from his 'provincialism': "Picasso was always a Spaniard even though he lived his whole life in Paris" (quoted by Andersen, 'Jorn: En biograf', p. 233).
'Council for the Propagation of Danish Beauty in Foreign Lands' was printed in a black and white version, of which only one or two proofs are known, and in the colour edition from two large sheets of lino sent to Jorn in June 1952 by Dahlmann Olsen. (There was also a related painting that has been lost since 1954; see Atkins, 'Jorn: Crucial years', Appendix no. 19.) An underlying colour (blue in the case of the British Museum's impression) was usually applied, printed from a woodblock, then the lino was cut up and reassembled like a jigsaw to permit the simultaneous printing of other colours for different parts of the composition. It was a method consciously indebted to that associated with Munch's colour woodcuts, which had greatly impressed Jorn when he saw them exhibited in Copenhagen in 1946. There is a noticeable variation in the colouring and sometimes the paper between each impression; the British Museum's example, which came from the collection of Otto van de Loo, is the one illustrated in the 'catalogue raisonné' of 1976.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1997 Jan.-April, BM, 'Modern Scandinavian Prints, cat.95
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This came from the cataloguer Van de Loo who acquired it from the artist.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number