The Graphic Works of Heerup
Lithos and Linocuts
The visual artist Henry Heerup (1907-93) occupies a unique position in Danish art history. With his characteristic style, he was instrumental in shaping the contemporary art scene where particularly his outstanding contribution to the promulgation of graphic art stands out. Heerup is remembered for his colourful, imaginative expression rich in symbols and for his charismatic personality. He worked hard to make sure that art reached as many people as possible, especially via embellishment commissions in the public space or large editions of prints, e.g. in collaboration with art associations.
Heerup, the man and artist, became national heritage – with a very special place in the hearts of children and adults alike. Most of all, he wanted to share the joy of being human with the viewer. His social instinct was deep-rooted and he emphasised humanistic values such as security, good health, work, and, of course, the family. Values linked to everyday life, contributing to cement his status of national heritage. ’I don’t want to sound conceited,’ Heerup said to the writer Virtus Schade, ’but I think it’s quite true that I have popular appeal. Meaning that people can understand me. People love it when they can lean on something.’
As a mature artist, Heerup entered into a number of unforgettable collaborations with e.g. the department store Irma and the Royal Copenhagen porcelain factory. An unrivalled production of e.g. posters, tins, brooches, and plates attest to the fact that Heerup was very much in demand, well, practically a brand in himself besides being able to meet the many different requests put to him. Also, they serve to tell the story of his insatiable joy of work and creativity. ‘The joy of work never lets you down,’ Heerup said. ’I think it’s a question of an eternal drive to work. It has a kind of staying power, which places it opposite other emotions.’
In this exhibition you can experience a variety of Heerup’s lithos, woodcuts, linocuts, logos, vignettes and sketches. “All Art Should be Popular”, said Heerup, and today his prints are even more popular than in his own lifetime. Visit the exhibition and see why.