Brundlund Castle

Is South Jutlandic art unique to the region? Answering this question is key to the collections at Art Museum Brundlund Castle, which exhibits South Jutlandic art from the late 1700s till today. The collections include works by great artists such as C.W. Eckersberg (Blåkrog, 1783-1853) and Franciska Clausen (Aabenraa, 1899-1986), but also a number of other interesting artists whose artistic career and work is somehow connected to the border region.

Together, they paint a picture of an artistically varied and vibrant region, which has also always related to the national and international art scenes as well as changing isms and genres.

Franciska Clausen, who grew up in Aabenraa, is one of the most famous South Jutlandic artists. Early on, she proved to have a talent for drawing and painting and received training in Copenhagen, Berlin and Paris, where she met famous personages from the interesting inter-war period, including the Frenchman Ferdinand Leger in Paris, whom she received instruction from and developed a close relation to as his mistress. She was a member of the international group of artists, Cercle et Carré, and did portraits of i.a. Her Majesty the Queen and Queen Ingrid.

In connection with the handover of Aabenraa to Queen Margrethe I from the Holstein counts in 1411, the queen secured the right to build a new castle to replace the existing. However, the large, moat-encircled castle hill, Brundlund, west of the city was probably built by Eric of Pomerania. Unfortunately, no trace of the castle exists. The existing castle, a combined gatehouse and main building, was built by King Frederik I around 1530.

At the same time, the water mill was constructed, comprising a mill, moat lock and part of the castle’s defence, as was the southern-most end of Nybro and the western-most end of Slotsgade to establish a direct route between the town and the castle. Around 1590, under the Gottorps, the castle was rebuilt in the Renaissance style by Hercules von Oberberg, who added two octagonal corner turrets, a small stair turret and an open gallery on the south side.

Finally, in the years 1805-07, C.F. Hansen rebuilt the castle in the New Classicist style. The castle is situated in the open, green space on the verge of the city centre, separated only by the road Møllemærsk. Both the islet, which used to house a garden, and the meadow are characterised by an abundance of large, old trees. A dam built in 1744 and flanked by trees bridges the moat, and part of the old moat has been turned into a lake. Since 1998, the castle has been home to Art Museum Brundlund Castle, which in 2006 became a part of Museum Southern Jutland.

The museum collections and exhibitions present artists from Southern Jutland and the duchies from the 1700s up until today. Especially remarkable is the museum’s large collection of works by the avant-garde artist Franciska Clausen, around 2,500 works in total, which were transferred to the museum in 2011 after having spent a period of years at the Kolding museum of modern art, craft and design, Trapholt. The museum also houses a collection of art from the Danish Golden Age, where especially C.W. Eckersberg and C.A. Jensen are well-represented.