Pedersen, Carl-Henning

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    Born 23 September 1913 and died the 20 February 2007

    He was a Danish painter and a key member of the COBRA movement. He was known as the “Scandinavian Chagall”, and was one of the leading Danish artists of the second half of the 20th century.

    Pedersen was born in Copenhagen and brought up in the poor area near Vigerslev Alle. He held radical political beliefs. His abstract works, with flat planes of colour, emulated the works of cubists and of Paul Klee.

    Pedersen travelled on foot to Paris in 1939, where he saw works by Picasso and Matisse. He visited the exhibition of “degenerate art” (entartete Kunst) in Frankfurt am Main on his way home, where he was inspired by the paintings on show, particularly the works of Chagall, which remained a strong influence on his art for the rest of his life.

    He won the Eckersberg Award in 1950 and the Guggenheim Award in 1958. A retrospective was put on at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1961, and he was Denmark’s representative at the Venice Biennale in 1962. He won the Thorvaldsen Medal ion 1963.