In 1995, when Rødovre Municipality received a major donation of Heerup’s works and personal items from the artist’s widow, Marion Heerup, it became clear that a museum could not be established in what had once been Heerup’s place of work and garden. Instead, attempts were made to find a place in Rødovre firmly anchored in the local community; the community centre Rødovregaard proved to be the perfect choice.

The new museum for Henry Heerup, an artist rooted locally, but known internationally, was designed by Bernd Kjelland, architect MAA. The area totals 425 sq. m. The building has 200 sq. m of gallery space, an entrance area including a museum shop, toilets, and basement storage totalling 150 sq. m. The architect Bernd Kjelland paid particular attention to the light. Daylight in the gallery space enters the building via skylights in the upper part of the roof. Northern light usually has a cool quality whereas southern light exudes warmth. The skylights contain longitudinal movable louvres measuring about 4 metres. In this way, it is possible to mix cool and warm light.

Rødovregaard is the last farm left in what remains of the old village of Rødovre. The farm belonged to the same family for almost 200 years. Since 1770, four generations of the Sørensen family owned this farm whose land stretched from Roskildevej in the south to the present-day Rødovre Parkvej to the north. In 1967, Rødovre Municipality bought the farm, took over the right of use in 1976, had the building renovated, and established a community centre. Now, Rødovregaard is a bustling community centre where local associations can hire premises for cultural events free of charge.

On 1 May 2000, the new museum for the popular artist Henry Heerup was inaugurated in Rødovre. However, the museum was soon closed again due to unforeseen humidity problems, which is why the Heerup Museum figures in various quizzes as the museum that opened and closed on the same day! When the museum reopened on 20 January 2001, some 4000 visitors queued during one weekend to experience the opening exhibition ‘The Heerup Museum – Painting, Prints, Sculpture’.

The Heerup Museum is a self-governing institution with links to Rødovre Municipality from which it receives an annual grant. The museum looks after Rødovre Municipality’s collection of artworks and items associated with Henry Heerup. Via collection, registration, preservation, research, and educational activities, the museum seeks to present knowledge about Heerup’s life and work and to effectuate continued investigations of the role played by the artist for art in the past as well as for present-day art and culture. The museum is one of a series of museums devoted to a single artist in Denmark such as H.C. Andersen’s Birthplace, the Karen Blixen Museum, the Storm P. Museum, the Carl-Henning Pedersen and Else Alfelt Museum, and many others. Common to all these is the underlying biographical presentation of one person’s, often an artist’s, life and work. At the Heerup Museum, this means that the focus of attention, besides Heerup’s works, is also directed at his view on life, his considerable integrity, his role in society, and his influence on posterity.

The Heerup Museum is deeply rooted in the extended urban area of Rødovre. The museum has its own governing body consisting of six members:

  • Pia Hess Larsen, appointed chair by the Rødovre local authority.
  • Marianne Christensen, appointed by the Rødovre local authority.
  • Ruth Mørch and Anne Lise Fich, representatives of the Friends of the Heerup Museum.
  • Representative of the local business community; vacant
  • Anita Hartelius, a professional representative with a curatorial background.

The museum is headed by Pernille Fonnesbech, MA Art History, and the day-to-day running of the museum is handled by a handful of competent colleagues: Gerda Skovgaard, Christina Ladefoged Klestrup Hansen, Alberte Charlotte Vogel Willemoës, Bolette Linde-Fleron and Iben Balslev. In addition to these, there are twelve indispensable voluntary assistants who give a hand where it is needed. The museum has an active Friends Association supporting and following the work of the museum.

The Heerup Museum is a member of the Kunstkonserveringen (the Art Conservation Centre), established by Danish art museums for the purpose of enhancing the care and preservation of art. Kunstkonserveringen conserve and restore works of art and will advise on lighting and climatic conditions, etc.
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