Louisiana's founder, Knud W. Jensen, wanted to create a museum where Danes could see modern art, which until then had no special place in the Danish museums.
Louisiana opens in 1958
From the beginning, the founder, Knud W. Jensen, intended for the museum to be a home for modern Danish art. But after only a few years he changed course, and instead of being a predominantly Danish collection, Louisiana became an international museum with many internationally renowned works.
Louisiana’s close contact and collaboration with the international arts and cultural milieu has since been one of the museum’s greatest strengths. And also one of the main reasons that it has been possible for Louisiana to present an exhibition program that has resonated so strongly with the public over the years. Louisiana has thus achieved a standing as one of the world’s most respected exhibition venues, and in the future, it will be able to attract exhibitions and artists at a level that few other museums – either in Denmark or abroad – can match.
Torben Weirup, journalist
Knud W. Jensen
Knud W. Jensen put into action many of the period’s visionary ideas about modern museum operation, including a desire for art to have a wide audience. It has always been the view at Louisiana that art is not just for an elite but includes experiences and visions for the many.
From the beginning, it was Knud W. Jensen’s vision to create a museum with soul, where the public could encounter artwork – not as something pretentious, but rather something that spoke directly to the viewer. And he emphasized the need for “supplementary content” that could help bring alive and enrich the environment:
Knud W. Jensen
Knud W. Jensen in front of the Old Villa of Louisiana - 3 years before the museum opened.
In the first year of Louisiana, it was expected that 40,000 visitors would visit - but no less than 225,000 visited Louisiana the very first year. Here is a younger guest in the North Wing in 1958.
A guest enjoys the atmosphere and a cup of coffee at the newly opened museum in 1958.
In May, the Danish singer Kim Larsen and his band perform on the lawn for the CAMPS peace rally in 1987.
In 1998 the museum celebrates its fortieth anniversary. Guests gather on the lawn to hear Knud W. Jensen speak from the veranda of the Old Villa.
Louise, Louise & Louise
Many people wonder about the name of the museum. The short explanation is this — a nobleman and his three wives.
Knud W. Jensen chose to “take over” the name of the country house that he later converted to a museum. The property had been built and named in 1855 by Alexander Brun (1814-93), who was an officer and Master of the Royal Hunt and who married three women who were all named Louise.
Here at Louisiana, he was a pioneer in beekeeping and the cultivation of fruit trees.