The Art Critics (1915)

Henningsen, Erik Ludvig (1855 - 1930)

The Art Critics

Oil on Canvas: 25 x 25
Catalog# HENE-022

The bartender in white stands at the end of the counter listening to two artists critique an unframed painting that faces them on a chair. They are seated at a simple brown wooden table with three chairs. Their glasses, a candle and their elbows fill the tabletop. The men are dressed in their finest (black suits, shined shoes, collars and neckties) as they have ventured out in public. The bearded man sits holding a newspaper yet reads the painting as his companion critiques the work. Protruding from his beard and mustache is a lit, smoking cigarette. The other gentleman holds his cigarette in the air as he talks about the painting before them. The bartender is amused by what he hears as he has a smile on his face. With exception to the table and chairs, all of the woodwork in the room is a light blue – a nice contrast against the soft white of the walls and bright white of the bartender’s coat.

A simple, yet amusing genre piece showing an everyday event of looking at and critiquing a painting – just as you are doing now.

Henningsen, Erik: (1855-1930)

Erik Henningsen was educated at the Copenhagen Royal Academy of Art. He Traveled and studied in Germany, Italy, France and Holland, and received numerous awards and medals throughout Europe. He later became a member of the Royal Academy of Art. Exhibited in Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Lubeck, and many more.

Born August 29 1855, died November 28 1930. Son of Frants Christian Ludvig Henningsen and Hilda Christine Charlotte Schou. Married November 5 1886 to Mary Henriette De Dompierre de Jonquieres.

Erik Henningsen is always mentioned in the same breath as his older brother, painter Frants Henningsen. Both with their traditionally classic approach to realism, anecdotal undertones and bold use of dark colors, they were the most loved and celebrated illustrators of life and times; often depicting the hardships and trials of that day and age. One of Erik Henningsen’s large influences in his style and techniques, were Poets Schandorph and Drachmann, who are often accredited with the direction and approach Henningsen took in many of his works.

Henningsen is particularly famous for his “Thirsty Man” painting commissioned and used by one of the largest breweries in Europe, Tuborg. Tuborg Brewery has had their advertisement posters of the “Thirsty Man” dotted around Europe now for many decades. It is still the most recognizable image for Tuborg beer.

Henningsen was often commissioned to do historical and genre paintings, such as the great depression, or the socially distinct lines between nobility and the working class. His paintings today adorn the halls and rooms of numerous castles, manors, and museums around Europe. His works are also published in many art books, and are frequently the focus of study for many art students.

Loved and admired for his talent to realistically portray life and tell a story at the same time, Henningsen took great pride to never include any personal feelings or philosophy, but to stay neutral to the subject matter for whichever painting he was doing.