The birth of the empress statues
Read Carl Jacobsen’s extensive correspondence with the French sculptors Gautherin and Chapu.
In 1885, Carl Jacobsen had the idea to have the two acclaimed French sculptors Henri Chapu and Jean Gautherin create two marble statues of Christian IX’s daughters Alexandra and Dagmar. Princess Alexandra (1844–1925) was married to the Prince of Wales, later Edvard VII of England, while Princess Dagmar (1847–1928) was married to Emperor Alexander III of Russia.
Carl Jacobsen’s engagement
The two sculptors are shown in conversation with Jacobsen in the Danish artist P. S. Krøyer’s famous painting ‘Et Aftenselskab i Glyptoteket’ (Evening Party at the Glyptotek) from 1888. Jacobsen wanted to add the two ‘empress statues’ to his rapidly growing art collection in order to make it an even more attractive gift to the City of Copenhagen. Jacobsen’s condition for this donation was that the city would make a suitable lot available for constructing a new Glyptotek building. The exchange of letters with the two artists tells the story of the creation of the ‘empress statues’ and Jacobsen’s keen involvement in the artists’ work.