GERDA WEGENER & THE DANISH GIRL
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