The beauty of the moment: Anna Syberg on display at The Hirschsprung Collection in Copenhagen

Until May 21st The Hirschsprung Collection in Copenhagen, Denmark displays the exhibition ‘The beauty of the moment’, curated by the curator Lejla Mrgan, regarding Anna Syberg, a key figure in the Funen Painters artists’ colony. Apart from a few figure scenes, Anna Syberg found her subject matter in flowers and plants, in the vases and pots around her home, in her garden and in studies done out of doors in nature. She reinvigorated floral painting with her distinctive watercolours, using multiple layers that include sketched lines of pencil, transparent layers of watercolour and black ink contours to portray plants and flowers with superb technical skill.

As a medium, watercolour falls somewhere between a drawing and a painting. It oscillates between line and stroke, between the well-defined and the fluid. Anny Syberg experimented with the arrangement of her subjects, often letting her flowers and plants extend beyond the edge of the paper in dynamic croppings, and her approach to the relationship between a ‘sketch’ and ‘finished’ work reflects a modern outlook on imagery and art. In Anna Syberg’s pictures, flowers are not charged with symbolic significance, nor are they stringently sober botanical studies. In her works, Anna Syberg portrays an existential and immediate moment: a vibrant here and now.

Anna Syberg’s investigative approach to watercolour as an artistic medium and to flowers as subject matter make her a central artist, who took part in the artistic currents that ushered in new ways of working with watercolours and floral motifs in the early 1900s.

The exhibition was shown at Faaborg Museum in 2020. When the Faaborg Museum collection was founded in 1910, the museum purchased works by Anna Syberg; today, the museum owns the world’s largest collection of her watercolours. The exhibition presents this collection alongside a number of significant loans, demonstrating the wide scope of her artistic work. Heinrich and Pauline Hirschsprung were early supporters who bought works already in 1898 at her debut as an artist.

Presenting a range of archival material, the exhibition also provides insight into the social, cultural and gender-related contexts Anna Syberg had to navigate as an artist and as a human being.

The exhibition catalogue Anna Syberg – The Beauty of the Moment is lavishly illustrated and features texts by associate professor of Art History Rune Gade (PhD), writer Merete Pryds Helle and the exhibition’s curator Sofie Olesdatter Bastiansen (MA).

The exhibition at Faaborg Museum and catalogue are supported by: Juni Fonden, Arne V. Schleschs Fond, Augustinus Fonden, Beckett-Fonden Bestles Fond, Dronning Margrethes og Prins Henriks Fond, Den Hielmstierne-Rosencroneske Stiftelse, Frimodt-Heineke Fonden, Lemvigh-Müller Fonden, Toyota-Fonden.


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