Budtz-Møller, Carl (1882-1953)

Budtz-Møller, Carl (1882-1953)
Budtz-Møller, Carl (1882-1953)

Carl Budtz-Møller found much inspiration from his fellow Danish artists whilst also contributing to developments in the art of his homeland with his own vibrant oeuvre of works.

Throughout his life, Budtz-Møller found artistic inspiration from a number of sources. It seems that his time training at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts left a lasting impression. During this time, he received teachings from August Jerndorff (1846-1906). Jerndorff’s speciality was biblical paintings, and indeed, Budtz-Møller participated in the restoration of church frescoes across Denmark during his time at the Academy. It seems these holy houses stuck with Budtz-Møller, for he executed a large number of church interior scenes throughout his career.

In style and execution, Budtz-Møller took much inspiration from the infamous Kristian Zahrtmann (1843-1917). Zahrtmann had been a revolutionary leader of Danish art, embodying the movement of Danish art away from traditional, conservative styles to the more emotional experimentations of naturalism and realism. His use of vibrant colours in particular was a source of inspiration for Budtz-Møller. His church interiors burst with glorious, gilded tones which compliment beautifully the more earthily coloured stone bones of the buildings. The frescoes which adorn the walls are captured in miniature upon Budtz-Møller’s canvases with all their vitality intact.

In subject, too, did Budtz-Møller derive inspiration from Zahrtmann. Both artists were drawn to the scenes and life of Italy. Indeed, Budtz-Møller travelled there extensively over the course of 30 years. Here, once more, did church interiors become a dazzlingly alluring spectacle for his artistic tendencies. So, too, however, did the more down-to-earth, everyday life of the country and its people. Budtz-Møller often depicts figures in traditional dress, participating in routine chores such as women gathering in the street washing sheets or goat farmers herding their flock for milking. In each depiction, Budtz-Møller infuses his canvas with a vivid array of colours which infuses both realism into his work as well as a personality. The bright colours of buildings stacked upon verdant hillsides seem to watch the washerwomen in the foreground curiously. Ramshackle buildings catch the eye with their rainbow of plastered facades. The everyday becomes interesting for Budtz-Møller.

In Denmark, too, Budtz-Møller also found inspiration. He spent many summers holidaying on the island of Bornholm. Here, the rich, dramatic clashing of nature’s many notes offered to him a most alluring display to capture. An afternoon sun casts a golden, sentimental glow across a craggy cliff face. Sleek, richly coloured glass slips down the hillside between sharp, staggered rocks to meet the crystalline surface of the water, where pastel colours reflect back the luscious scenery.

Budtz-Møller not only took inspiration from the stalwarts of Danish art like Zahrtmann but contributed his own teachings to artistic education. He worked for a time at the technical school, which prepared students for the more developed studies of the Academy, and for the Arts and Crafts School. He was also a regular exhibitor, both in Denmark and abroad. He was certainly spreading the word of Danish art across Europe whilst paying homage to its greatest contributors and adding his own flourish through his singular works.


Born in Rødby, Denmark.


Studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.


Travelled to Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Holland.


First exhibited works, at Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition. Awarded the K.A. Larssen scholarship.


Made many travel trips to Italy, France, Britain, Belgium, Norway, and Sweden.


Began teaching arts and crafts at the Technical School.


Awarded the Hielmstierne-Rosencrone scholarship.


Became head teacher at the Technical School and head of Arts and Crafts Department.


Married Maria Magdalena Christensen.

c. 1920

Travelled to Chartres, France.


Died in Copenhagen.

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