Erik Henningsen deftly captured the underlying spirit of social scenes in Denmark with masterly brushwork and an acute fascination for the human condition. With little embellishment or romantic sentiment, his observations are a window into the soul - more akin to documentary photography than traditional genre painting.
Upon absorbing his work, you become an eyewitness to a tangled story as it unfolds in your mind. The characters are familiar, yet it’s not a play or drama - simply the complexities of life in technicolour. It’s a tale of societal inequality interwoven with lavish indulgence and tepid awkwardness.
Henningsen studied everything - yet left it all to the imagination.
Born in Copenhagen to Frants Ludvig Henningsen (1820–1869), a grocer, and Hilda Charlotte Christine née Schou (1824–1880).
As a young man, he was apprenticed to a decorative painter and also had private drawing lessons.
Began studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.
Sought work as an illustrator while continuing his development as a painter.
Morning in the Courtyard of the Adressecontoir, Copenhagen
The Murder of a Child
Married Mary Henriette de Jonquiéres (b. 1858).
1889 & 1890
Won the Royal Academy’s Eckersberg Medal.
The Dance Pavilion
Became a Member of the Academy Council.
An Injured Worker
A Horse Trade
Conscripts of the Royal Danish Navy, Mending their Summer Uniforms
Harvest Scene With Farmer & Scythe. From our collection.
Firefighter Saves an Old Lady
Askov Folk High School
Landscape with a Man and a Wife on a Dirt Road
The City's Musicians