Kristian Zahrtmann, Adam in Paradise, 1914. Private collection. Photo: Ole Akhøj

KRISTIAN ZAHRTMANN. Queer, Art, and Passion

Fuglsang Kunstmuseum, 20 September 2019 – 5 January 2020

Kristian Zahrtmann (1843–1917) was an artist, a teacher, and a bon vivant. He painted powerful women and handsome men with zesty narrative joy and several of his nudes were not far off causing a scandal. Zahrtmann was very conscious about the way others saw him and he experimented with self-portraits, home design, and the celebrity role.


Zahrtmann’s art has alternated between being popular and much maligned, but especially his pictures from Italy and those portraying the king’s daughter Leonora Christina were well-known and loved. He was often assigned epithets such as loner, outsider, or rebel, but values and interests change and the time has now come to take a look at his life and work in a queer context. That is to say the quirky, eccentric, and challenging elements in relation to customary thinking on e.g. gender, sexuality, and identity.

The exhibition Kristian Zahrtmann. Queer, Art, and Passion thus shows an impressive array of works from public and, notably, private collections where colours and passion, humour and provocation are key elements. The works are supplemented by a selection of Zahrtmann’s furniture and personal effects.


The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Ribe Kunstmuseum and the Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen, and includes activities in Danish for children and adults, respectively, a catalogue, and digital research articles (also in English) www.perspective.smk.dk/en