Christen Købke
Portrait of Margrethe Hahn, g. Stougaard (1810–1882), 1829
Oil on canvas, 21 x 18 cm
Inventory number: 0246NMK
Acquired 2021


Christen Købke had a penchant for the immediate surroundings within and around Copenhagen's ramparts, and he rarely travelled further afield to find his motives. One of the exceptions is his early work - for instance, a portrait of Margrethe Hahn.

The picture was painted in connection with a summer holiday in Aarhus, where the 19-year-old Købke was staying with the priest J.C. Hahn. Købke painted two portraits of the priest's daughter Margrethe Hahn, who sits for her portrait with a silk scarf around her hair and a transparent shawl, a so-called Bertha, over her bare shoulders. One portrait was given to the family. The other, as seen here, he chose to keep until his death as a memory of Margrethe, with whom he had fallen in love.

Christen Købke (1810–1848)
Købke was one of the Golden Age’s most sensitive landscape painters. His father was head baker at the Copenhagen fortress, Kastellet, and throughout his life, Købke remained closely attached to his home and immediate surroundings, which also constituted the subject matter of his paintings. He was a student of C.W. Eckersberg, who greatly influenced his perception of subject and composition. As an artist, however, Købke was more directed by intuitive feeling than by principles, which is why he is described as pre-impressionistic in some art historical sources. Købke’s compositions are often boldly composed with an almost photographic cropping. He painted portraits and landscapes with a unique sense of colour and in his outdoor studies, he anticipated the kind of painting en plein air that would characterise Danish landscape painting later in the 1800s.

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