Stabell, Anette, Else Alfelt – Universets farver, Copenhagen, Borgens Forlag, 1990
Thage, Jacob, Else Alfelt, exh. cat., Holtegaard, Holte (June 17–August 27, 2000), Holte, Gl. Holtegaard & Kunstcenter Silkeborg Bad, 2000→
Lungren Nielsen, Hanne and Korshøj, Lotte, Else Alfelt – Tomhedens æstetik, Herning, Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum, 2010
Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum (Opening Exhibition), Herning, September 13, 1976 – June 1, 1977→
Else Alfelt, Gl. Holtegaard, Holte, June 17–August 27, 2000→
Else Alfelt, ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, March 19–September 11 2022
Danish painter and mosaicist.
Else Kirsten Tove Alfelt was born in 1910 and came of age in a world hit by existential questions that arose from the two world wars. On the cusp between an old and new world, she looked towards nature and the universe and painted colourful compositions of mountains, moons, suns and stars, such as Fuldmåne [Full moon] from 1956 which, characteristically for her work, borders on abstraction and figuration.
From a young age E. Alfelt was determined to be an artist, and in 1925 she was admitted to a two-year programme at the Technical School in Copenhagen, which served as preparation for the Academy of Fine Arts. But when she applied to the academy, she was rejected. She was working as an autodidact artist when in 1935 she was introduced to the artist association Linien [The Line, 1934-1939] by the artist Egill Jacobsen (1910-1998), whom she and her partner, the artist Carl-Henning Pedersen (1913-2007), met at an anti-war demonstration. The social circle around Linien inspired her to explore abstract and surrealist modes of expression, which resulted in her exhibiting her first abstract works at Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling in 1937. During her artistic career she participated in several left-wing artist associations such as Linien, Skandinavierne, Helhesten, Høstgruppen and CoBrA, all of which worked with abstract visual languages and a belief in the popular dissemination of art. E. Alfelt participated in debates of the time on social and artistic equality, but she remained in the periphery of the artist associations and maintained her own rigorous artistic style throughout her life.
After the Second World War, E. Alfelt embarked on a series of journeys that had great significance for her work. In 1945 she experienced mountain landscapes for the first time on a trip to Sapmí after having painted mountains for years. She drew inspiration from different cultures and techniques; through Japanese calligraphy, Italian architecture and Icelandic lava stones she found motifs that became part of her artistic language. In 1952 E. Alfelt presented her first solo exhibition, Rummet og Bjaergene [The space and the mountains], at Den Frie [The Free Exhibition], which showcased works such as Spidser, der raekker mod himlen [Peaks pointing towards the sky] from 1949. She curated the exhibition herself and wrote a poetic text printed in the exhibition catalogue to accompany her works. E. Alfelt continued to create her own independent exhibitions at Den Frie until 1968.
In 1973 E. Alfelt received the prestigious Thorvaldsen medal. A year later, she died suddenly at just 63 years old and was buried at Tibirke cemetery. E. Alfelt’s works can today be found in the form of several mosaic decorations on the Th. Langs Seminarium in Silkeborg and Langelinie Pavillonen amongst other places. Her works are represented in Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum in Herning, and in the collections of numerous other museums in Denmark. In 2022 ARKEN Museum of Modern Art dedicated the first large retrospective exhibition to the artist in the last 20 years.
A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring
Else Alfelt, Stromboli, 1958, oil on Masonite, 150 x 114 cm, Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum, photo: Ralf T. Søndergaard, © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Spidser, der raekker mod himlen [Peaks reaching towards the sky], 1949, oil on Masonite, 102 x 102 cm, Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum, photo: Ralf T. Søndergaard © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Universets Blomst [Flower of the Universe], 1966, oil on Masonite, 107 x 107 cm, Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum, photo: Ralf T. Søndergaard © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Abstrakt komposition [Abstract composition], 1944, lithograph, 20.1 x 26.1 cm, SMK © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Abstrakt komposition [Abstract composition], 1938, watercolor, pen and black ink on yellowish canvas, 23.5 x 30.9 cm, SMK. © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, August-nat. Dolomitterne [August night. Dolomite], 1951, watercolour, 31.2 x 47.7 cm, SMK © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Bjerge [Mountains], 1955, pencil and watercolour, 47.7 x 31.2 cm, SMK © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Bjergsletten [The mountain plain], 1950-1951, watercolour, 31.2 x 47.6 cm, SMK © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Composition in Yellow, Red and Green, 1944, oil on plywood, 101.2 x 102.1 cm, SMK © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Fuldmåne [Full moon], 1956, oil on Masonite, Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum, photo: Ralf T. Søndergaard © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Kloder i gyldent rum [Globes in golden space], 1960, watercolour, 31.4 x 48.4 cm, SMK © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Picture Painted in 7 Blue Colours, 1972, oil on plywood, 91.5 x 91 cm, SMK © ADAGP, Paris 2022
Else Alfelt, Regnbuen [Rainbow], 1954, oil on masonite, 245 x 498 cm, sketch for mosaic decoration at Rungsted Municipal School, Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum, foto: Ralf T. Søndergaard © ADAGP, Paris 2022