Pas de deux royal – an artistic meeting

12 October 2013 - 23 February 2013

ARoS is very pleased to be able to present a unique exhibition featuring Denmark's creative Royal Couple.
The exhibition, PAS DE DEUX ROYAL - an artistic meeting, includes some 150 works selected in close collaboration with H.M. the Queen and H.R.H. the Prince Consort. The exhibition contains both early and very recent works and the artistic themes have been divided into 10 galleries covering a total area of 1,000 square metres.

The Royal Couple's lifelong fascination with the visual arts ran deeper than mere interest, since they both, all along, have had an active career as creative artists. PAS DE DEUX ROYAL – an artistic meeting has been organised as a retrospective dialogue between the multifarious works of the Queen and the Prince Consort, respectively, and museum visitors are invited to enter a universe far removed from the Royal Couple's traditional and representative activities.

The exhibition portrays the Queen as a landscape painter, but visitors' eyes will also be feasting on church textiles, large theatre stage sets, and the meticulous découpages, to which the Queen has devoted herself for a number of years and which have added further edge to her creative talent.
In the case of the Prince Consort, it is sculpture and poetry which repeatedly find new modes of expression in imaginative bronze and marble figures and a flow of poetic diction.
The exhibition galleries render a visualisation of a long life shared and common experiences expressed through creative talent in their own ways and in different media. The Queen is fascinated by nature in its glorious magnificence, never leaving room for figures in her art while the Prince Consort always focuses on animal and human bodies in his sculptures, and his frequent use of the words 'you' and 'I' in his poems serve to underline human relations.

With themes like nature, love, fantasy, and religious aspects, the multifaceted art of the Royal Couple is filled with varying moods and expressions. Under ten headings covering the ten exhibition sections, the Queen's and the Prince Consort's works enter into a mutually conducive dialogue – gallery by gallery.
The ten galleries are designated as follows:

Gallery 1. Intro
PAS DE DEUX ROYAL – an artistic meeting opens in the Royal Couple's early years where they – independently of one another – took up an active interest in art with china painting. At this time, the Prince Consort was residing with his family in Indo-China, present-day Vietnam, while the Danish Crown Princess Margrethe represented the new generation of the Royal Family at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. This gallery includes the exhibition's oldest work dating from 1947: the Queen's small flower study of a bunch of marigolds executed at the age of seven. A picture described by the Queen as crucial to her subsequent artistic career.

Gallery 2. Fantasy and reality
In this section, the Prince Consort's small imaginative fabulous animals in bronze aptly interact with the Queen's atmospheric watercolours from Greenland and, similarly, the Queen's landscapes of fantasy are represented here by the watercolour series, Landskaber til tabte sagn (Landscapes to Lost Legends), 1976-78.

Gallery 3. Creation
The Royal Couple's relationship with biblical history, Christianity, and religious life seen in a broad perspective is the theme of this gallery. This is where a selection of the Queen's bishop's copes and chasubles is exhibited – generously loaned to ARoS by churches from every corner of Denmark – while the Prince Consort contributes with two sculptures. One is a figure of Christ whose expression is a testimony to the Prince Consort's fascination with African art while the other is the sculpture, La Main du Createur (The Hand of the Creator), 2013.

Gallery 4. Love – nature
The Prince Consort's torso figure, which normally stands in the axis facing the main entrance to Marselisborg Palace in Aarhus, is the main figure in this gallery. Characteristic for this sculpture is its double-faced expression where the front side is inspired by the male body while the back is characterised by female forms. On the wall, there is a series of red and green paintings showing the Queen's fascination with nature and the Royal Couple's immediate surroundings including renderings of Fredensborg Palace Avenue and the rose garden at Marselisborg Palace.

Gallery 5. The poems
Words have been a source of fascination to the Prince Consort since childhood. Not until the age of 64, however, did the Prince Consort find the courage to share his rhymes and metres with the general Danish public when his collection of poetry, Cantabile, was published in 2000.
Since then, six collections of poetry have been published and, today, the Prince Consort has delighted thousands of people with activities such as poetry readings of his own works.
In PAS DE DEUX ROYAL – an artistic meetnig, the poetry room is laid out like the innermost ventricles of the heart where the Prince Consort's own voice rings out in recorded readings of selected poems. The poems were suggested by the Prince Consort personally for their broad appeal – in terms of mood as well as atmosphere.
The Prince Consort recorded the poems in their original language, French, while the actor, Joen Bille, recites the poems in a Danish translation.

Gallery 6. The black gallery
The black / red room is the treasure trove of the exhibition, PAS DE DEUX ROYAL – an artistic meeting. Here, we find the works which the Royal Couple has executed together with other artists. Among these, a magnificent memento mori – a diamond skull executed by the jeweller, Torben Hardenberg, based on the Prince Consort's drawings. This is also where the Prince Consort's figurative bronze chess pieces are exhibited.

Gallery 7. Blue – green
In a series of blue-green large-format paintings, the Queen presents an inner, splendid landscape. The monumental landscape scenes strike a chord with the Prince Consort's sculpture, Hommage à Jorn, 2010 – a tribute to fantasy and the irrational.

Gallery 8. Nature as form
The Queen's series of rock and bone pictures is evidence of Her Majesty's interest in archaeology. The paintings are set against two of the Prince Consort's sculptures: the organic sculpture, Åbent hjerte (Open Heart), 2010 and the sculpture, Janus, 2011, with a futuristic expression.

Gallery 9. Découpage
The Queen's work with imaginative découpages has been used for stage sets, including the screen adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen in 2000 and The Wild Swans in 2009.
The découpage gallery is laid out as a dark cave where creativity and dreamy visions reign. This gallery also presents a selection of the Queen's contribution to the world of theatre. Since the Queen's sources of inspiration for her découpage motifs include the Prince Consort's poems, a recording of the Prince Consort's voice has also been included in this gallery.

Gallery 10. New moves
In the exhibition outro, the most recent works of the Royal Couple are presented. These include the Queen's newest abstract paintings and the Prince Consort's large bronze sculpture, Torso, 2013, which normally stands in Fredensborg Palace Gardens. The gallery title, 'New moves', is therefore both an indication of the age of the works, but also an expression of the fact that the Royal Couple continue to work with new forms of expression and various artistic techniques.

To mark the exhibition, PAS DE DEUX ROYAL – an artistic meeting, ARoS has published a richly illustrated 220-page book with new photos of the Royal Couple and of their numerous works.
Seven authors elaborate on the Queen's and the Prince Consort's artistic production whilst also placing the Royal Couple in an overall culture-historical perspective. The book is available in Danish, English, and French from the ARoS Shop and costs DDK 299.

Publication – list of authors:
Jens Erik Sørensen – introduction to the exhibition concept and general background
Ole Nørlyng – H.M. the Queen's scenographies / costumes
Bjørn Nørgaard – H.R.H. the Prince Consort's sculptures
Hans Jørgen Frederiksen – H.M. the Queen's bishop's copes / chasubles
Else Marie Bukdahl – H.M. the Queen's découpages
Stéphanie Surrugue – H.R.H. the Prince Consort's poetry
Pernille Taagaard Dinesen – H.M. the Queen's paintings

ARoS will be hosting a series of lectures and events to coincide with PAS DE DEUX ROYAL – an artistic meeting. This includes:

  • The toy theatre, Svalegangens Dukketeater: SKIBSDRENGENS FORTÆLLING (The Sailor- Boy's Tale) (12 years +). The scenography is based on the Queen's découpages and recently drawn figures.
    Time: 12 and 13 October as well as 19 and 20 October – all days at 11.00 and 14.00.
  • Lecture by Vibeke Lindhardt, author of the book, Se min kåbe (See My Cope), about the Queen's bishop's copes, Sunday 27 October at 15.00 in the ARoS auditorium.

For more information, check the museum calendar of events on

Chief curators on the exhibition, PAS DE DEUX ROYAL – an artistic meeting, are Jens Erik Sørensen, Museum Director and Pernille Taagaard Dinesen, Curator.

PAS DE DEUX ROYAL – an artistic meeting enjoys support from:

Photos of works from the exhibition can be downloaded free of charge from on production of accreditation. User name: 123456. Code: 123.

For more information, please contact:
Bjarne Bækgaard, Director of Communications
ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum
Mobile: +45 3066 5142 | Tel: +45 8730 6618