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Astrid Noack

At the age of 14 Astrid Noack (1888-1954) moved from her native town of Ribe to Copenhagen, where she worked as a painter at the faience factory Aluminia. From 1906-10 she trained as a journeyman wood carver in Vallekilde as one of the first women in Denmark. After a couple of years’ work at a furniture factory, she joined the group of artists, who under the leadership of Joakim Skovgård created the ornamentation for Viborg Domkirke (Viborg Cathedral).
 
After carving figures out of wood for Jean Gauguin and restoring altarpieces for the National Museum, Astrid Noack went to Paris in 1920 to realise her desire of becoming a ‘real’ artist. After working at furniture and umbrella factories she joined the Danish community of artists Academie Scandinavia in Maison Watteau, where the sculptor Adam Fischer and the painter Georg Jacobsen became her teachers and friends. In 1932 she returned to Copenhagen, where she became the first woman member of the artists’ group Grønningen in 1933.
 
Astrid Noack is in a class by herself within Danish art. She is difficult to fit into any ism or movement. Her sculptures are timeless and related to Roman and Gothic sculpture, Egyptian art and Greek, archaic sculpture.
 
It is the human figure – most often children and women – that is the subject of Astrid Noack’s work. The figures are usually placed in the simplest position: Erect and frontal. The twist of the body, the positioning of the hands or feet create motion and tension in the form, but apart from that there are few artistic effects and no surface structure. This makes the sculptures simple and plain – almost abstract.
 
To Astrid Noack the form of the sculpture is the main thing, and everything else is of secondary importance. The figures are freed from references, personal projections and other superfluous features. Thus, who or what is represented by the sculpture becomes completely inferior to the form.
 
Astrid Noack’s sculptures seem natural – they are an integrated whole and simple. Without being obtrusive they point out the essential qualities of sculpture as an artistic idiom. But the creation of the sculptures took a long time, which was no doubt the reason why she only made such a limited number of works.
 
Astrid Noack’s foundation has deposited a wide range of her original plaster models with Holstebro Kunstmuseum, where interested visitors may see them by previous appointment.
 
One of her major works ”Anna Ancher” (1939) is placed in front of the museum. Furthermore, Astrid Noack is represented in the town of Holstebro with the sculptures ”Knælende dreng” (“Kneeling boy”) (1942) and ”Kvinde med klæde” (Woman holding a cloth in her hand”) (1944).
Astrid Noack