Monday, December 1, 2008


One of my favorite Scandinavian artists is the little known Danish painter Asger Oluf Jørgensen, better known as Asger Jorn (1914-1976). He was born in Vejrum, in the northwest corner of Jutland, Denmark. When in college he joined the Danish Communist Party. In 1936 he traveled on a BSA motorbike he had scraped together enough money to buy to Paris to become a student of Kandinsky.

There Jorn decided instead to join Fernand Léger's Académie Contemporaine; it was during this period that he turned away from figurative painting and turned to abstract art. In 1937 he joined Le Corbusier in working on the Palais des Temps Noveaux at the 1937 Paris Exhibition.

During WW2, he became an active communist resistant but after the war he broke with the Danish Communist Party, while nevertheless remaining a lifelong philosophical communist. During the course of his artistic career he produced over 2500 paintings, prints, drawings, ceramics, sculptures, artist's books, collages, décollages, and collaborative tapestries. He died in Aarhus, Denmark on 1 May 1973. This oil on canvas above titled Et blik ind I fortiden (A look in the past) executed about 1962 measures 60 by 73 cm.

In October 2004 it was sold by Christie's in London for $81,829.

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