|Tomorrow, on the 14th of August, a new chapter will be added to the history of Ordrupgaard. This day marks the reopening of one of the finest collections of French art in Northern Europe in a new extension by the award-winning Norwegian architect firm Snøhetta. Read more about the Danish Museum Unveiling world art in a contemporary setting.
The extension provides space for the entire French collection and safeguards the works for future generations. Snøhetta’s building blends in elegantly with the existing Ordrupgaard buildings, entering into dialogue with the collections, the surrounding landscape, and the other buildings. Moreover, it has the appearance of a self-contained architectural work, adding an innovative and significant aspect and transforming Ordrupgaard into a museum destination of international dimensions.
The extension consists of three new gallery spaces for the French collection plus two for temporary exhibitions. The latter form direct extensions of Zaha Hadid’s building, continuing this acclaimed architect’s striking idiom of black lava concrete and grandiose rawness. In contrast, the French galleries appear bright and gentle.
Floors, walls, and coffered ceilings are covered with white-oiled oak only interrupted by pastel green walls forming a backdrop for the works. Hence the French gallery spaces present an almost classicistic transition from Zaha Hadid’s building (2005) to Gotfred Tvede’s elegant stately home (1918) to which they form a passage. In this way, Snøhetta’s building creates a perfect ambulatory through the museum, taking visitors through the whole collection with the architecture accentuating the transitions, sharpening the senses as you go, and bracing you for new impressions.
Snøhetta’s building is set gently into the landscape. Only the steel roof marking the outline of the centermost of the three French galleries is visible from the outside. The sculptural shapes of the roof and its numerous facets refract the light in subtle anticipation of the impressionist works on show inside. Snøhetta’s building unlocks a wealth of associations, for example, the notion of a buried treasure chest.
The French collection
Due to lack of space, some forty per cent of the collection was previously relegated to storage, including numerous works likely to have occupied places of honor in other museums. Enhanced lighting conditions now enables the museum to show a series of delicate pastels by great impressionist masters such as Manet, Degas, and Renoir in a permanent hanging. These works are now doing their utmost to outshine one another like a row of glittering gems in the subdued lighting in the pastels gallery.
During the construction phase of Snøhetta’s building, the French collection has been ‘touring abroad’ to Musée Jacquemart-André, France, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany, and the Royal Academy of Arts, England, to name but a few. Everywhere, it was critically acclaimed and extremely popular with visitors and it is a great pleasure for the museum to present the collection at Ordrupgaard once again.
A new Ordrupgaard
For the reopening, Ordrupgaard is pleased to present a new installation in the park by the Argentine contemporary artist Tomás Saraceno. The work Omega Centauri 3.9 hangs among a group of trees in the northern end of the park, drawing parallels to the roof construction of the new building with its geometric shapes and reflections.
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Snøhetta’s building underpins Ordrupgaard’s architectural profile, creating a modern museum complex with space for the collections, international temporary exhibitions, and a learning center, plus a café, shop, and children’s room.
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Danish Museum Unveils World Art In A Contemporary Setting, based on a press release from Ordrupgaard.
Feature image (on top) Photo by Snøhetta