29 January
26 July

The Strange Tales of Niels Hansen Jacobsen

A Dane in Paris (1892-1902)
This exhibition, the first to be dedicated to Niels Hansen Jacobsen (1861-1941) in France, invites visitors to an oneiric journey into the world of this Danish sculptor and ceramist, a contemporary of Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929).

His work was strongly marked by a taste for the bizarre, the ambiguous, even the macabre - the “uncanny”, to quote an expression coined by Sigmund Freud a few years later. His sculptures revived Nordic mythology and Scandinavian legends, the orality of folklore and the fantastic aspects of Andersen’s tales.

From 1892 to 1902, Hansen Jacobsen settled in Paris. His studio at 65, Boulevard Arago became the meeting place for a group of francophile Danes, in a “cité d’artistes” where, among others, the ceramist Jean Carriès and the illustrator Eugène Grasset lived.

This community of artists was associated with symbolist circles; from 1880 to 1900, this literary and artistic movement sought to transcribe the inexpressible by a play of poetical and plastic correspondences.

The parallel though individually different careers of Hansen Jacobsen and Bourdelle both contributed to the radiant influence of the symbolist spirit, in the wake of Gustave Moreau and Paul Gauguin. They were also part of the modernity of Art Nouveau, an international movement born at the very end of the 19th century, which used nature as a new ornamental repertoire.

In doing so, the exhibition acknowledges the essential position that Niels Hansen Jacobsen deserves in the laboratory of formal inventions in the Paris of the 1890s, when each work seemed to speak “secretly to the soul its sweet mother-tongue” (Charles Baudelaire, “Invitation to the Voyage”, The Flowers of Evil, 1857).

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Vejen Art Museum.
It benefits from the exceptional participation of the Petit Palais, Paris museum of Fine Arts.

General curators

  • Teresa Nielsen, Head of the Vejen Kunstmuseum
  • Amélie Simier, Head of the musée Bourdelle

Scientific curator

  • Jérôme Godeau, art historian, musée Bourdelle

Public et Horaire

  • Enfant / Adolescent
  • Famille
  • Adulte


Jardin Musée Bourdelle
Musée Bourdelle

18, rue Antoine Bourdelle
75015 Paris


  • Enfant / Adolescent
  • Famille
  • Adulte