The Archives of the Funen Painters


The core members of the Danish artist group known as the ‘Funen Painters’ were painters with a personal connection to the island of Funen who had studied at Kristian Zahrtmann’s art school (Kunstnernes frie Studieskoler (the Artists’ Free Studio Schools)) during the 1880s as well as the circle around them:
Johannes Larsen, Fritz Syberg, Peter Hansen, Poul S. Christiansen, Jens Birkholm, Alhed Larsen, Anna Syberg, Christine Swane, Sigurd Swane, Kai Nielsen, Nikolaus Lützhøft, Carl Petersen, Peter Tom-Petersen, Harald Giersing.

Today, the main collections of art by the Funen Painters are found at the Johannes Larsen Museum in Kerteminde and at Faaborg Museum, both on Funen.

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The Johannes Larsen Museum opened in 1986 in the house that Alhed and Johannes Larsen built as their home in 1901–02 on Møllebakken in Kerteminde. The museum later underwent several extensions to add rooms for both special exhibitions and items from the permanent collection.

Faaborg Museum was established in 1910 in a flat in Faaborg owned by cannery owner Mads Rasmussen and expanded in 1915, when the collection relocated to a purpose-built museum, a neoclassicist masterpiece designed by Carl Petersen. Mads Rasmussen provided the funding but left the task of selecting artworks and decorating the museum to the artists themselves.

Since their establishment, both institutions have received donations of archival material related to the Funen Painters, especially from the deceased artists’ families, who have also handed a large number of letters and personal journals over to the Royal Danish Library. This rich collection of material related to the artists is now made available to the general public, thanks to this project. Material from the Johannes Larsen Museum and Faaborg Museum is supplemented by material from Faaborg byhistoriske Arkiv (Faaborg Local History Archive), which is part of Øhavsmuseet Faaborg (Archipelago Museum Faaborg). This latter source includes a large archive from Mads Rasmussen, which, in addition to documenting Rasmussen’s business activities in the town of Faaborg, contains extensive correspondence between Rasmussen and the Funen painters in 1910–15, during the establishment of Faaborg Museum.