atomictv David Bickerstaff
Artist, filmmaker and creative director of digital media for narrative environments

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THE DANISH COLLECTOR: Delacroix to Gauguin

Royal Academy of Arts, London
Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen

Cinema release from
30th November 2021

>> Play the TRAILER

Filmed and directed by David Bickerstaff
Produced by Phil Grabsky

HD video | 16:9 | 90 min

This film was a ‘lock-down’ project for me and the EOS team, which brought with it lots of challenges. Under strict COVID rules, the Royal Academy were very generous in allowing us to film their exhibition ‘Gauguin and the Impressionists’, which was built around Wilhelm Hansen’s stunning collection of 19th century French art amassed during the dark days of World War One. The collection resides at Ordrupgaard, Hansen’s beautiful manor house and galleries, built on the outskirts of Copenhagen. From realism to post-impressionism, this amazing collection is full of exquisite paintings by super-star artists. Works I had only seen in books before. The entire property and collection was left to the Danish State in the 1950’s and has been carefully preserved. Although there were challenging circumstances, we managed to film Ordrupgaard and interview the curators, experts and the Danish artist Tal R, who offer the film invaluable insight into Hansen’s dynamic life and the collection’s historic presence.

The holy grail for most artists is to be represented by a gallery or have their work appreciated and purchased by individuals or institutions. Ever since I left art school there have been many collector personalities who you hoped would be attracted to your work. This made working on the Danish Collector such an interesting and illuminating film for me. Who are these people and how did they amass the resources to purchase art, assemble large bodies of work and then offer their collections to the state in a supremely generous act of legacy? Other Exhibition On Screen films have crossed paths with the giants of the collecting world like Barnes, Courtauld and Getty, who have been hugely influential in our understanding of art from the mid 19th century onwards, but this film gave us an opportunity to look at other personalities and at smaller, yet incredibly impactful collections like that at Ordrupgaard - collections that encapsulate a passion for acquiring art and leaving it to future generations.

Music by Asa Bennett
Written by David Bickerstaff and Phil Grabsky
Narrated by David Rintoul

Hugh Hood, David Bickerstaff

Danish Crew
Ida Høgh - Cinematographer
Michael Berenth - Camera Assistant
Peter Thorsøe – Local Producer  

Storm postproduction

Contributions by
Anna Ferrari: Curator, Royal Academy of Arts, London
Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark: Director of Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen
Frances Fowle: Senior Curator of French Art National Galleries Scotland, Edinburgh
Mirjam Gelfer-Jørgensen: Author and Senior Researcher
Tal R: Artist
Axel Rüger: Secretary and Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Arts, London

  Atomictv © David Bickerstaff