Art works from the Knud Nielsen Collection

No contradiction for Nielsen: collecting without beeing a collector

Auction in Wurzburg:
Saturday, 24 October 2020 – 2 pm

Preview in Wurzburg:
October 12 until 23 from 10 am to 5 pm daily

Catalogue order

COVID-19 notice:
If possible, please make an appointment to visit the preview. We kindly ask you to reserve a seat for the auction.

Knud Nielsen (1916-2008)

Knud Nielsen
Photo: C.F. Garde, Knud Nielsen, Jelling 1989

Knud Nielsen is one of the most important artists of Denmark in the 20th century. Artistically and philosophically he was very close to the CoBrA movement, a close friendship connected him with its members.

African statues and masks, pre-Columbian ceramics, carvings from Oceania – art works from Asia through to Danish stone axes, from masterpieces to folk art – they all populated the studio and private space of the Danish artist Knud Nielsen, in Jelling, a small town far away from Copenhagen, where Nielsen had lived since 1976.

Nevertheless he did not see himself as a collector in the classic sense. “Whether it's to do with Africa, China or Denmark, it doesn't matter. What is is important that artists here, as well as there, no matter in what period, were at work whose feeling for things corresponded to their own ... Then suddenly there is a feeling of kinship with another person, even though I don’t know them at all”. (Source: C.F. Garde, Knud Nielsen, Jelling 1989:6).

Only the work itself counts – for him these are “works by colleagues”, as his friend and art colleague Robert Jacobsen put it in an interview with Jean Laude in 1967 (in: Arts primitives dans les ateliers d’artistes).

Nielsen had a close friendship with Jacobsen (1912-1993), sculptor, painter and graphic artist from Copenhagen, who lived and worked in Paris from 1947 to 1949. The rare double figures Bafo / Bakundu that are dated before 1910 were gifted by Jacobsen with the words: "Det er os to gamle kæmper, står ryg mod i den her kunstneriske udørk, vi er havnet i!" ("We two old giants stand back in this artistic remote place we have ended up in!")

Again and again Nielsen travels to Paris art fairs and exhibitions; one of the early pieces in the collection, a Gägon mask is still owned by the family. Nielsen acquired it in Paris in the early 1950s.

For him and for the generation of artists including Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck, Picasso, Braque and Corneille, these are the sources of inspiration; they are the springboard for their own work.

Our offer includes a curated selection of 15 works of art, including a magnificent "sweating" Turka figure (Burkina Faso / Ivory Coast) and an iconic equestrian figure from the Dogon people.

Burkina Faso / Côte d'Ivoire, Guin / Karoboro / Turka, Collection Knud Nielsen

Burkina Faso / Côte d'Ivoire, Guin / Karoboro / Turka

Karl-Ferdinand Schädler, Munich (Germany)
Robert Jacobsen, Copenhagen (Denmark)
Knud Nielsen, Jelling (Denmark)

Mali, Dogon, N' Duleri, Collection Knud Nielsen

Mali, Dogon, N' Duleri

Knud Nielsen, Jelling (Denmark)

Kamerun, Tikar, Collection Knud Nielsen

Cameroon, Tikar

Karl-Ferdinand Schädler, Munich (Germany)
Ketterer, Munich (Germany), 18 November 1978, Lot 188
presumably Robert Jacobsen, Copenhagen (Denmark)
Knud Nielsen, Jelling (Denmark)