Johan Rohde

Johan Rohde

Rohde in 1934
Born Johan Gudmann Rohde
(1856-11-01)November 1, 1856
Died February 18, 1935(1935-02-18) (aged 78)
Nationality Danish
Alma mater Kunstnernes Studieskole
Known for Painter, lithographer and designer
Awards Thorvaldsen Medal

Johan Gudmann Rohde (1 November 1856 – 18 February 1935) was a Danish painter, lithographer and designer. He was the principal founder of Den Frie Udstilling, established in 1891 to allow artists to exhibit works which did not fall within the Academy's selection criteria.[1]

Early life

Born in Randers where he matriculated from grammar school in 1875, he first studied medicine before deciding to turn to art. After studying privately under Wenzel Tornøe, he entered the Academy in 1882. Unhappy with the institution's refusal to accept modern trends, he left less than a year later together with a number of other students. Thereafter he studied at the newly established Kunstnernes Studieskole (Students' School of Study) under Laurits Tuxen and P.S.Krøyer (1883–1886).[2]


Rohde first exhibited at Charlottenborg's spring exhibition in 1888 with an everyday scene: En Beværtningshave i Udkanten af København (A Tavern Garden on the Outskirts of Copenhagen). When his paintings were later refused by the Academy, together with those of Vilhelm Hammershøi, Fritz Syberg, Joakim Skovgaard and Julius Paulsen, in 1888 he and Rasmus Christiansen arranged an exhibition of refused works in their studio. In 1890, with J.F. Willumsen, Hammershøi, Harald and Agnes Slott-Møller and Christian Mourier-Petersen, he established Den Frie Udstilling where he exhibited throughout his life.[3]

Rohde travelled widely, not only exhibiting his works, but playing a key role for Danish art until 1914 by following news trends, making new contacts and writing carefully formulated articles in the Danish newspapers. He had eye for works of value, buying a painting by Van Gogh in Paris in 1892 (now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.[3] He also arranged an exhibition of Van Gogh's works in Den Frie in 1893. His own works from the 1890s are influenced by Symbolism, especially his portraits.[4]

Rohde also played an important part in the development of Danish craftsmanship with his high-quality silver designs (for Georg Jensen as well as furniture in both classical and Japanese styles.[4]

In 1934, Rohde was awarded the Thorvaldsen Medal.

Selected paintings


  1. "Om Den Frie", Den Frie Udstilling. (Danish) Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  2. Annette Stabell, "Johan Rohde", Kunstindeks Danmark & Weilbachs kunstnerleksikon. (Danish) Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  3. 1 2 "Johan Rohde", Dansk Biografisk Leksikon. (Danish) Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  4. 1 2 "Johan Rohde", Den Store Danske. (Danish) Retrieved 31 January 2013.
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