09 June 2010

A local hero

I still remember the Henry Heerup lithograph with the swans hanging above the stairs in one of the many locations I called my childhood home. It could very well be that it was a piece for sale in the gallery, but it felt like ours, and I loved the soft shapes and friendly characters. Heerup was asked to make a lot of murals in Copenhagen, and some of them are still around today. Like the fantastic milk mural from 1953 with the breastfeeding twinmother. And the landmark commercial from 1985, for at travel insurance company on Vesterbro,  that became the very last piece he ever made. The theme is inspired by the popular Danish children's song "the journey of a small elf" (oh, what a stupid translation, what can I do?), for my Danish reader "en lille nisse rejste". I am partial to his earlier work, but I still like this one, and I could not imagine this corner without it. I posted the picture on flickr today, and to my surprise someone left a note saying it was butt ugly. The only redeeming quality was apparently the graffiti work in the lover corner (that I had left outside the frame on purpose).

Okay, so we can not discuss taste, I don't even want to. But I do think it is important to allow certain things that has a value to someone else to exist, even if it falls outside our palette. There are so few of these works left, that it should be possible to let them survive? I on my part will set an example by not vandalising the massive, uniform and intimidating office buildings taking up the entire waterfront in Copenhagen. How is that for at start?

The European Travel Insurance

Milk, it's yummy.

Looking for a good and explanatory Heerup link, I discovered that he grew up right here on Norrebro, and that he was fond of working with trash in his sculptures. And he had a great sense of humor too: a big lover of elves, he founded the Elves Union, of which he was the president and only member. He is laid to rest on the Assistens Cemetery on Norrebro, and I almost feel like I owe him a visit...

**** UPDATE ****

It turns out the twin mural is not by Heerup, but rather Hans Scherfig (sorry Scherfig). I will post another Heerup milk mural at a later point.


  1. AnonymousJune 11, 2010

    ahhhw sweet pictures

  2. Jeg anede ikke, han er vokset op her på Nørrebro. Det er både historie og fine billeder på én og samme gang, hurra.

  3. Hej Linda, jeg anede det heller ikke før jeg begyndte at interessere mig for det. Han voksede op lige ved runddelen, så det er kun rimeligt at han er begravet lige ved siden af, omringet af sin fine kunst. Jeg bliver så glad af at se på Heerup lige pludselig. :-)

  4. I especially love the breastfeeding mother!

  5. I do too, I have decided to nominate her for a Classic Copenhagen Award. Because she is worth it.

  6. Those are really nice! Must be preserved.

  7. Even if I have to camp out in front of them, to make sure of it! :-)


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