Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art has newly ascended to the upper echelons of my favorite museums. Situated on the coast of the Øresund Sound with breathtaking views of neighboring Sweden, the building is deceptively expansive but still, as is the feat of so much of Scandinavian modernism, retains an aura of warmth.
I’d heard a lot about the Louisiana, located a half hour train ride from Copenhagen in Humlebæk , but was surprised when we arrived to what looked more like a quaint country cottage than a top tier art institution.
The entrance to the Louisiana.
Once inside, though, the building expands outwards in a network of glass-walled hallways, blending into its surroundings as it creeps towards the coast.
Of course, this architecture affords incredible views, and the backdrop of the Danish coastline serves as a breathtaking frame for an expansive collection of Scandinavian and foreign art.
Alberto Giacometti sculptures framed by the museum grounds.
Looking through woodwork along a hallway between galleries.
Besides facilitating breathtaking views, the interior architecture allows for a warmth largely absent in American art institutions. The substitution of whitewashed plaster for brick instantly makes the walls more interesting without detracting from the work, and beams, ceilings and floors in warm teak lend a modern edge. Skylights in most of the galleries let in the natural light so feared by many museum directors, which here, in a region hardly known for searing sunshine, likely never poses a problem.
An incredible collection of work by the Danish Abstract Expressionist Asger Jorn is set against a backdrop of brick. Teak beams and ceilings soften natural light and a complimentary teak bench provides a resting place in an expectedly Danish style.
Certain to make the most of its exceptional setting, the Louisiana is also home to an exceptional collection of sculpture, the majority of it strewn across the coastline, silhouetted against the cloudy skies over the Øresund Sound. Dotted along the lawn are works by Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Henry Moore, Joel Shapiro, Jean Arp, and Max Ernst, among others.
The sculpture garden seen from an upper ridge.
Works by Miró and Calder outside the Museum Café.
Calder with Sweden in the background.
A Henry Moore sculpture and the Louisiana from behind.
Requisite selfie in a glass sculpture on the grounds.