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Anna Thommesen

Anne Thommesen (1908-2004) was self-taught – both as a weaver and artist. She painted already as a child, but from the 1940s weaving and the artistic possibilities of this technique became her means of expression. She bought a loom and taught herself to weave and dye yarn with collected plants.
 
In 1943 Anne Thommesen made her debut with patchwork quilts at Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling. At first her patterns were dominated by simple, geometric shapes – to some degree inspired by the idiom of foreign cultures. In the 1950s the patterns grew more complicated and then became simple again.
 
Anna Thommesen’s tapestries are abstract. The geometrical patterns are symmetrically arranged round a vertical as well as a horizontal axis. Behind the abstract expression Anna Thommesen was, however, inspired by nature, which is reflected in titles like ”Autumn”, ”Winter” and ”Yew Tree”. The tapestries are a kind of metaphors of the Danish landscape, where for instance grain fields are the ornament of the country.
 
The colours, too, are taken from nature. Both in a concrete way from the plants, with which Anna Thommesen dyed her yarn, but also from the colours that she saw in nature. The colour of a barely ripe barley field might set off the artistic process.
 
And Anna Thommesen began with the colour, when she initiated the work process by painting in water colours the tapestry that she was about to weave. Colour determined the pattern of the tapestry and created the inner nature of the tapestry, in which form, colour and pattern constitute a harmonious whole. She is a great colourist – so great that the painters of Martsudstillingen secured that she became a member of the group in 1952.
 
It was Anna Thommesen’s experiences in nature combined with the demands and possibilities of the material and technique that together formed the basis of her tapestries. They are the sum of artistic capability of vegetable dyed yarn, the loom and good craftsmanship. 
 
Anna Thommesen created a number of distinctive decorative works, among others the tapestry for Landstingssalen (Old Parliament Hall) at Christiansborg Slot (Christiansborg Castle) and altar carpet, kneeler and frontal for Roskilde Domkirke (Roskilde Cathedral). Several of her tapestries are found in Holstebro Town Hall.
Anna Thommesen, foto Klaus Holsting