Museums Corner | Homes that became museums
There are museums, and then there are museums in historic buildings. Nothing can compete with a museum about a famous person actually based at the house in which they lived – it’s as if they have seeped into the bricks and walls, which are now whispering the tales and memories of a bygone age. Join us as we visit three such homes.
Karen Blixen Museet – When visiting the Karen Blixen Museum at Rungstedslund one is welcomed by the aroma of the fresh and beauteous bouquets arranged everywhere in the house.
Karen Blixen – who just like Kamma Rahbek was a lover of flowers – was born at the farm in 1885, and when her Kenyan farm went bankrupt, she returned in 1931. Here she lived until her death in 1962, and the rooms are much like she left them – furnished bright and classy.
Karen Blixen is probably best known for her authorship, which was accomplished at Rungstedslund, but the gallery in Karen Blixen Museum bears witness to a multifaceted talent. She was also skilled in the arts of illustration and painting. Many of the motives in the gallery are inspired by the years lived out in Africa and several pieces of the furniture were brought to Denmark from her farm in Kenya.
Rungsted Strandvej 111, 2960 Rungsted Kyst; www.blixen.dk
Ordrupgaard – “A chair is not merely an art manufactured product in a given room, it is a form and a space by way of itself.” When walking into Finn Juhl’s home at Kratvænget in Ordrup – a mere stone’s throw from Ordrupgaard – you immediately get an impression of what the architect meant to say with the quote above. In the white, minimalistic home, which Finn Juhl built all by himself between 1941 and 1942 and lived until his death in 1989, it is the furniture that defines the rooms.
And you can try most of it out. Settle yourself in the dainty armchairs, resting chairs and lounges that each occupy a special position in the home. Experience the placidness of the working room, the fireplace lounge and the living room, which have a wonderful inflow of light, perfect for quiet contemplation. In the frame chair – for example – which was designed in 1953, you can sit in the opposite way, facing the backrest, which is equipped with a practical little frame whereupon you can rest your arms. In 2012 Juhl would have been 100 years old and Designmuseum Danmark is currently celebrating the centenary with a special exhibition.
Vilvordevej 110, 2920 Charlottenlund; www.ordrupgaard.dk
Designmuseum Danmark, Bredgade 68, 1260 Cph K; www.designmuseum.dk
Bakkehusmuseet – Bakkehuset had several incarnations – among them as a farm, a roadhouse and a lunatic asy-lum – before the author Knud Lyne Rahbek and his wife Kamma moved there in 1802 and changed the significance of the building forever. Over the next three decades it was inhabited and visited by the most outstanding scientists and artists of that age, including HC Andersen, Johan Ludvig Heiberg, Ingemann and Adam Oehlenschläger.
No visit is complete without a walk around the garden, the focal point of the building – indeed, most of the chairs are positioned along the windows and face out onto it. It was one of the great passions of Kamma Rahbek, who spent many a happy day in the garden.
The main building has been a museum since 1925, while one of the two wings is accessible as a residence for people on scholarships. Presently it is the residence of the poet-couple Merethe Pryds Helle and Morten Søndergaard, but writers and poets alike can petition for the furnished apartment if their works show an interest in Golden Age literature and philosophy. Previous occupants include Søren Ulrik Thomsen and Solvej Balle, among others.
Rahbeks Allé 23, 1801 Frederiksberg; www.bakkehusmuseet.dk
Find out more at http://www.cphmuseums.com/.