Wednesday 3 July 2013



Louisiana, Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen. It's located on the shore of the Oresund Sound in Humlebraed, 35 km north of Copenhagen.

One of the best galleries I have ever been to, and after Christiania the best day out we had in Copenhagen. The museum has an extensive permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as a programme of special exhibitions.

The whole complex is so interesting and beautifully conceptualised that I have decided to do a post on the museum itself as it is such a successful synthesis of art, architecture and landscape.

A 19th century villa was transformed into a Modernist oasis, a series of low-slung pavilions forming a circle around a sculpture park which is made up by a plateau and a sloping terrain towards the sea.
The museum was created in 1958 by Knud W. Jensen, the owner at the time, who contacted architects Vilhelm Wohlert and Jorgen Bo who spent a few months walking around the property before deciding how a new construction would best fit into the landscape. This study resulted in the first version of the museum consisting of three buildings connected by glass corridors. Since then it has been extended several times until it reached its present circular shape in 1991.

Unlike traditional museums whose sole function was the exhibiting of works of art, Louisiana is a new type of museum. Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim in New York or Mies van der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, show an indifference towards the museum's primary function, instead presenting the museum as a communal space in society where priority is given to dramatic exterior and interior design rather than the practical requirements of a museum. The first sections of Louisiana were not ideal exhibition spaces, but ideal spaces - it was the architecture that set the pace, and the exhibits served to highlight the spatial and scenic qualities of this unusual setting. The museum provides the framework for a day out and for the surrounding landscape, and the exhibits are part of this framework rather than being defined by it. The latter sections of Louisiana have attempted to combine the two functions of the museum, quite successfully, I think.

The park is dominated by huge, ancient specimen trees and sweeping vistas of the sea. The long, narrow corridors have glass on both sides so that there is a continuous connection between outside and inside.

The entrance, which is through the 19th century villa leads straight on to one of the new wings and the shop.

On leaving the shop one is straight in the sculpture garden with views of the sea.

The villa and one section of the new glass extension where the shop is

the slope that leads down to the sea
a different way of getting to the sea with Richard Serra's The Gate to the Gorge

the bridge over the gorge

huge trees, Yoko Ono's Wish Tree and the narrow glass passageway between the West and North wings

such lush surroundings

the glass corridor I mentioned earlier


looking out

looking out

looking out from the Giacometti room into the lake garden

looking closer

these glass corridors are really fantastic

such a close connection between the outside and the inside

and everywhere you look, there are sculptures

a small pond

and now we are outside, having just come down these steps

to the lake garden

so lush

and beautiful

and so peaceful - Louisiana was packed when we visited, but the lake garden was very quiet, we had it all to ourselves

Ken going down the slide - a shortcut.

The pond seen from the outside

up on the hill between the East and South wings

looking down at the sea

and Sweden in the distance

Having walked around the grounds and seen the permanent exhibitions, we went to the cafe for lunch

with views such as this, it's a perfect marriage of art, architecture and landscape

as well as the sea. It was a gorgeous, warm day, but we were amazed to see people swimming as we assumed that the sea would still be quite cold.

After we finished our lunch we went to see the Half-a-Wind Show by Yoko Ono, and then the amazing creations of Tara Donovan - the two temporary exhibitions that were on.

Source: Communicating Culture, Merete Ahnfeldt-Mollerup.


  1. Wonderful isn't it? I knew you'd love it.

  2. This looks completely stunning. I think it would make my perfect house. :-)

    1. That's exactly it, Callum. That's what I want and dream of: a glass box to live in.

  3. This is a lovely blog. I'm trying to identify the sculpture in your photo captioned "up on the hill between the east and south wings." Can you help?