AAGAARD, Carl Frederik - b. 1833 Odense, d. 1895 København - WGA

AAGAARD, Carl Frederik

(b. 1833 Odense, d. 1895 København)

Danish painter. He left his small town for Denmark’s capital to study drawing at the Danish Royal Academy; Copenhagen was the centre of a spectacular resurgence of the arts. The art of the first half of the 19th century in Copenhagen was perhaps the greatest achievement of Denmark’s Golden Age. The sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and the painter Eckersberg led an artistic renaissance during the Golden Age that produced, with the establishment of an academy in Charlottenborg in 1754, the artists Christen Købke, Jens Juel, Constantin Hansen, Martinus Rørbye, Johan Lundbye, Wilhelm Bendz, and Emanuel Larsen to name a few. The Royal Collections, what was later to become the National Collection after the peaceful transition to a constitutional monarchy, actively supported these new artists, buying these ‘modern’ pictures the moment they were exhibited.

In the face of such disasters as the overwhelming defeat of their famed navy by the British in 1801, the English bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807 that destroyed hundreds of buildings inthe small city and damaged over a thousand, and the declaration of national bankruptcy in 1813 and subsequent loss of Norway, Danish culture flourished with a willful energy and a unique character. Aagaard began his career towards the end of this great period in Denmark but was instructed by the country’s great artists while at the Academy.

In addition to studying drawing, Aagaard assisted his older brother, a glass engraver at his professional studio. Aagaard next apprenticed in the studio of Hilker, a painter. Aagaard collaborated with Hilker on work at the University and other public monuments. It was his final teacher though, the landscape painter Peter Kristian Skoovgaard, that was to be the most influential. In 1857 Aagaard exhibited for the first time to great success. He continued to exhibit and trips to Switzerland and Italy helped to perfect his style.

In 1892 he was honoured with the title ‘Professor’. He died in Copenhagen in 1895.

Deer beside a Lake
Deer beside a Lake by

Deer beside a Lake

The painting is signed and dated ‘C F Aagaard 1888’ at lower left.

The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden by

The Rose Garden

This painting is unusual in 19th century art in combining landscape with still-life. In the acutely observed flowers the artist has demonstrated his skills as an observer of nature, but in the more distant landscape. The two figures, possibly lovers, are framed by the forward garland but are almost incidental to the composition.