Index of Historic Collectors and Dealers of Cubism
Tetzen-Lund, Christian
Copenhagen, 1852–Copenhagen, 1936

Christian Tetzen-Lund was a Danish art collector, who established one of the largest public collections of Cubism in Copenhagen during the 1910s and 1920s, exposing Scandinavian artists and intellectuals to French modernism at the time when World War I made travel to France particularly difficult.

Tetzen-Lund found early success in his career as a wine merchant and savings bank director at Landmandsbanken in Copenhagen. In 1878 he was first exposed to contemporary art upon visiting the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Aside from seeing both the Paris and International Salons, Tetzen-Lund also visited the retrospective exhibition of French art since the previous world’s fair, held in 1867. These experiences in Paris would go on to inform Tetzen-Lund’s penchant for nineteenth-century art and influence his early collecting habits. After retiring in the early 1900s, Tetzen-Lund turned to collecting full-time, amassing both Old Master works and paintings by young Danish and Norwegian painters in the years leading up to World War I. Beginning in 1916, however, he shifted his focus to French contemporary art and specifically Cubism, realizing he could benefit from reduced international prices during the war. He acquired several works from the Kahnweiler Syndicate in 1917, including Picasso’s Violin and Grapes (1912; Museum of Modern Art, New York) and Still Life with Door, Guitar and Bottles (1916; Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen).

Tetzen-Lund housed his growing collection in his private residence at 6 Palaegade, a wealthy district in central Copenhagen near the Kongens Nytorv. From 1917 to 1924 he opened his home to the public once a week, allowing many Northern Europeans unprecedented exposure to French contemporary art on a large scale. Regular visitors to the collection included prominent Scandinavian artists Jens Adolf Jerichau, Isaac Grünewald, and Ludvig Karsten (a former Norwegian student of Henri Matisse), as well as the German Expressionist artist, critic, and editor of Der Sturm, Herwarth Walden. Established collectors also frequented Tetzen-Lund’s home, such as Danish engineer Johannes Rump, who would go on to purchase several of Matisse’s paintings from Tetzen-Lund in the mid-1920s to form one of the most prominent collections of the French artist in Scandinavia.

Tetzen-Lund was an industrious collector and from 1916 to 1919 alone, he acquired twenty works by Picasso and twelve by Matisse. During this same period, Michael and Sarah Stein sold their collection of works by Matisse that had been on loan in Berlin in 1914 to both Tetzen-Lund and to Norwegian collector Tryggve Sagen. Tetzen-Lund added ten additional works by Matisse to his holdings in 1918. In 1921, he purchased Picasso’s Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier) (1910; Museum of Modern Art, New York) from the sale of Wilhelm Uhde’s sequestered collection and gallery stock at the Hôtel Drouot. In 1922 the Landmandsbanken (Agricultural Bank) collapsed, causing an economic crisis that forced Tetzen-Lund to dissolve his collection. He wrote to art collector Albert Barnes of the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pa. to inquire whether the American would be interested in acquiring some of his works by Matisse and Picasso. Represented by Paul Guillaume, Barnes purchased many of the works from Tetzen-Lund’s collection that had originally belonged to the Steins. He sold the remainder of his collection at auctions organized at Den Frie Udstilling in Copenhagen in 1925 and 1934.

Contributed by Rachel Boate, August 2017
For more information, see:

A Cultural History of Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries, 1900-1925, edited by Hubert van den Berg. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012.

Monrad, Kasper. “Christian Tetzen-Lund. The Merchant with the Sharp Eye and Unlimited Ambition.” In Henri Matisse: Four Great Collectors, edited by Kasper Monrad, 137–55. Copenhagen: Statens Museum for Kunst, 1999.