Baron Rosenkrantz: The Mystery of Colour takes place from October 3 2020 to May 30 2021 at the Arken Museum of Modern Art, Skovvej 100, 2635 Ishej, Denmark.

Baron Arild Rosenkrantz (1870-1964) was an eccentric sage who was as colourful, enigmatic and rich in stories as the fascinating works he created. Baron Rosenkrantz – The Mystery of Colour is the first major museum exhibition of Rosenkrantz’s works. Through paintings, pastels, embroideries, illustrations and sketches of colourful church windows, the special exhibition unfolds the story of the hitherto unknown Danish painter and his search for light, colour and mystery.

Arild Rosenkrantz was born into the Danish, noble family Rosenkrantz. But he never became a traditional baron. As a 10-year-old, Rosenkrantz decided he wanted to be an artist  and he succeeded. In the art metropolises of Copenhagen, Rome, Paris, New York and London, Rosenkrantz unfolded as an artist. In Paris, he exhibited in the 1880s at the legendary exhibition series Salon de la Rose + Croix, which the occult writer Joséphin Péladan was behind. In England, he gained recognition for his stained glass windows for churches and mansions and became part of the Arts and Craft movement. Throughout his life, Rosenkrantz was preoccupied with portraying the spiritual part of life, and that became his lifelong goal. The pursuit of the mystery of existence shines forth from his works; behind the shadows, in nature, in man or in the form of a revealing light.

At the exhibition you can experience Rosenkrantz’s breathtaking colour experiments, which he created after a landmark meeting with the Austrian thinker Rudolf Steiner in 1913. Through Steiner, Rosenkrantz was introduced to the German author and colour theorist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s colour theory, and then he put everything into mastering the properties of individual colours. Rosenkrantz explored how colours affect each other and how colours affect us emotionally. With a flair for contrasts, the artist threw himself into wild colour compositions that were to act on the human consciousness and connect the viewer with a higher, divine power.

Rosenkrantz’s universe contains a wealth of characters. They almost jump out of the colourful veil formations with expressive body language and lightning eyes. Everything that arouses the imagination inspired Rosenkrantz. In his motifs we meet luminous angels, majestic sphinxes and ferocious dragons. The many whimsical creatures are part of tales that are about existence and about spiritual cognition. About who we are and how we evolve as spiritual beings. At the same time, they exude adventure and draw threads to contemporary fantasy universes, computer games and the symbolic world of tarot cards. These are parallel universes that we can reflect on and that challenge us to reflect on our own position in the world.

Exhibition organized by: Christian Gether, Stine Høholt, Naja Rasmussen, Lisa Sjølander

Visit the Arken Museum of Modern Art website for more information on the exhibition, related events.

A catalogue (Danish language) accompanies Baron Rosenkrantz – The Mystery of Colours edited by Christian Gether, Gry Hedin, Stine Høholt, Naja Rasmussen. Printed Narayana Press. ISBN: 978-87- / 8751-386

The majority of works by Baron Arild Rosenkrantz can be found in his family estate at Rosenholm Castle, Djursland with a small selection in the collection of The College of Psychic Studies, London.