Press releases


FEBRUARY 4 - MAY 14 2017

Gerda Wegener (1885-1940) is a unique figure in Danish art. She depicts the beauty of women with equal degrees of empathy and fascinated enjoyment. Coquettish girls, elegant ladies and sensual women occupy the picture-space. The hooded gazes, red painted lips, graceful hands and long-limbed figures are characteristic of Gerda Wegener’s works, which are always erotically charged.

In 1904 Gerda Wegener, née Gottlieb, married the landscape painter Einar Wegener (1882-1931), known today as the trans woman Lili Elbe. Lili was Gerda Wegener’s favourite model, and togetherthey created a place of freedom in art where Lili could live out her female identity. In 1930 Gerda Wegener supported her spouse when Lili became one of the first in history to undergo a series of gender-modifying operations in order to become a woman both physically and legally.

Gerda Wegener divided opinion in Copenhagen, but enjoyed great success in Paris, where she and Lili lived from 1912. Gerda Wegener is the most important Danish exponent of the Art Déco movement. As a fashion and advertising artist and satirical cartoonist she supplied drawings on a daily basis to Danish and French magazines. She was a popular portrait painter and exhibited at the most important art exhibitions in Paris. In addition she did illustrations, especially for erotic literature, and designed glass mosaics for Parisian shops and wealthy people’s homes.

Gerda Wegener’s art has often been called piquant and decadent. Today the time has come to look with new eyes at this pioneering artist whose works challenge the traditional gender relations of painter, muse and model.

The Swedish actress Alicia Wikander recieved an Oscar for her role as Gerda Wegener in the film "The Danish Girl".


Gerda and Lili




18 MARCH – 11 JUNE 2017

Throughout the years Marianne Bernadotte (b. 1924), actor, philanthropist and the widow of the designer Sigvard Bernadotte, has appeared in apparel from some of the major French fashion houses, including Chanel, Balmain and Dior. As personal friends of the fashion designer Pierre Balmain, the Bernadottes’ wardrobe comprised a large number of garments from the house of Balmain. Based on several of Marianne Bernadotte’s fashion garments, primarily from the 1970s and 1980s, we portray the couture of these French fashion houses. The exhibition will be displayed in Millesgården’s Artist Home on the Upper Terrace.


Millesgården have, through Sotheby's acquired two Roman marble figures of dogs, from the 2nd century AD. They were at the end of 1930s offered for sale along with the Actaeonsculpture Carl Milles bought. The sculpture Milles bought depicts a recoiling man with traces of canine jaws and paws on the thighs. Milles acquired only the male figure, without dogs.

Actaeon was, according to Greek mythology, the grandson of the King of Thebes, and a skilled hunter. During a hunt with his two dogs, he wanders into a forbidden forest and sees the hunting goddess Artemis bathing naked. Artemis discovers him and in anger she transforms him into a deer, then the hunter's own dogs attack and tear him to pieces. At the British Museum in London there is a sculpture group of the same theme, including dogs, but on a smaller scale. In this sculpture the antlers are starting to grow out of Actaeons head.

The acquisition complements Millesgården´s collection of antiques and also enables research on Carl Milles and his collection of antique collecting, why he made the choices he made  when purchasing antique sculpture, and also research on this specific theme in antique sculpture.


The aquisition is made possible thanks to a generous contribution by Millesgården´s friends association. 


Actaeon in the antiques collection at Millesgården. Photo: Yanan Li.