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Ib Geertsen, 1919–2009

Stephen Coles

Rocket Gallery, who hosted Ib Geertsen’s first London solo show earlier this year, reports that the artist died peacefully on Wednesday, June 3, 2009.

Geertsen is survived by his wife Birthe, and their grandson and granddaughter. The funeral will take place on 12 June at Timotheus Kirken, Valby, Copenhagen where there is a stained-glass window designed by Geertsen.

Ib Geertsen is the grand old man of Danish abstraction, but was little known in the UK until he was championed by London’s Rocket Gallery in a recent group show with other Danes associated with an abstract movement known as Konkrete. This was followed by Geertsen’s first London solo show [at Rocket] in 2009, at the age of 90.

He trained as a gardener rather than an artist, but came to prominence as a painter in the 1950s with other Konkrete artists, and pursued with them a distinctive hard-edged, geometric abstract language which arguably pre-dated comparable developments in America. Geertsen has pursued that approach consistently for 50 years and has also expanded into furniture, mobile sculptures and public design.

— Paul Carey-Kent from an interview with Ib Geertsen published in Art World, June/July 2009, which includes a feature on the Danish art world.

An exhibition of Ib Geertsen Mobiles opened on the day of his death at ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Jutland, Denmark, curated by the Director Jens Erik Sørensen. This continues until September 27.

Following Rocket’s exhibition they published a small catalogue celebrating the show. It’s available on request.

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1 Comment

  1. 06.16.09 Jeremy Speck

    Sad news, but what an innings. Many thanks to Mid Century Modernist for introducing me to Mr Geertsen’s work (and the Rocket Gallery), it is fantastic.

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