The Collector


In a sense, I knew him long before I met him.

In part from countless newspaper articles, in part from CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark, to which he generously donated large parts of his ceramic collection. And what a collection! Most recently, I had read about Erik Veistrup in a book published by CLAY in connection with his most recent donation and the exhibition Clay – That’s Life!. I mentioned the book on my blog in early 2021. Back then, Henny Husum, PR Manager at CLAY, said ‘You should visit Erik,’ and when Erik responded to my mention by reaching out on Facebook, I seized the opportunity, got his telephone number and rang him to arrange a visit.

Sure, I’d be happy to talk about myself and show you my collection; ultimately, that benefits the artists, too,’ he replied. In fact, our conversation began during this initial phone call. He spoke with indignation about people who only read about art instead of looking at it and offered strong opinions about curators and museum professionals who only take an interest in an artist once he or she is deemed a sure bet. ‘You need to train your eye in order to appreciate art,’ he argued. They need to get up from their easy chairs and office desks and go into the studios, workshops, galleries and museums; they need to use their eyes and all their other senses.

Your mother was a weaver? Is that where you got your interest in the arts? ‘She stayed at home and raised me and my two siblings. Weaving was a hobby for her. But yes, I like to think that I came up with my interest in collecting art myself, but gradually I have come to acknowledge that my parents had a certain interest in art, not that they ever talked about it much. I guess it was mostly my mother; she would buy little things. Don’t buy too much from one artist, she instructed me, but I do just the opposite. I buy a lot when I fall in love.

My father was a social-liberal and engaged in international politics. He was head of department in the Tax Assessment Directorate. He also worked for the UN at some point. I just pulled out his journal, here is a letter from the Norwegian royal house to him from his time with the UN.

What is your latest acquisition? We return to the living room, where the tour began. The furniture in the living room came from his parents, cabinetmakers’ furniture, solid and by no means flashy or colourful. ‘My latest piece is by Marianne Krumbach. (She shares a studio with Marianne Nielsen, who is featured in HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no.5). I would love to buy more from her, but it’s certain very particular pieces of hers that I like, so I’m keeping an open eye.



Samleren

På en måde havde jeg kendt ham lidt, længe, uden at have mødt på ham.

Dels fra utallige dagbladsomtaler. Dels fra CLAY Keramikmuseum Danmark, hvortil store dele af hans keramiske samling generøst er doneret. Hvilken samling! Senest havde jeg læst om Erik Veistrup i en bog, som CLAY Keramikmuseum Danmark har udgivet i forbindelse med hans seneste donation og udstillingen ‘Ler er Livet!’. Jeg omtalte bogen online i begyndelsen af 2021. “Du burde besøge Erik”, sagde Henny Husum, som er pressemedarbejder på CLAY i den forbindelse, og da Erik kvitterede for min omtale ved at tage kontakt til mig på Facebook, greb jeg chancen, fik hans telefonnummer og ringede op for at invitere mig selv på besøg.

“Jo, jeg vil gerne tale om mig selv og vise min samling frem, det kommer jo også kunstnerne til gode”, svarede han, da jeg ringede, og allerede i telefonen var han godt i gang. Han talte med indignation om dem, som læser om kunst i stedet for at se på kunst, og han luftede stærke meninger om kuratorer og museumsfolk, som først interesserer sig for kunstnerne, når de er sikre kort. “Man skal træne sit øje for at få glæde af kunst”, argumenterer han. Folk skal op af læne- og kontorstolen og ud på ateliererne, værkstederne, gallerierne og museerne, de skal se og sanse.

Efter en times tid spørger jeg: Din mor var væver? Stammer din kunstinteresse fra hende? “Hun var hjemme og opfostrede mig og mine to søskende, væveriet var en fritidsbeskæftigelse. Men ja, jeg plejer at rose mig af, at jeg selv har fundet på at samle på kunst, men jeg har nu nok forstået hen ad vejen, at mine forældre havde en vis interesse for kunst uden at tale så meget om det. Eller det var nu nok mest min mor, hun købte små ting. Du skal ikke købe for meget fra hver, belærte hun mig, men jeg gør jo lige modsat, jeg køber stort ind, når jeg forelsker mig.

Min far var radikal og internationalt politisk engageret. Han var kontorchef i Ligningsdirektoratet. I en periode arbejdede han for FN. Jeg har lige fundet hans dagbog frem, her ligger et brev fra det norske kongehus til ham, som stammer fra den periode.”

Hvad er det seneste, du har købt? Vil jeg vide da vi er ved at afrunde og på vej tilbage til den stue, hvor vi begyndte. Stuen, hvor møblementet er arvet fra forældrene, snedkermestermøbler, gedigne og på ingen måde prangende eller farvestrålende. “Det seneste er fra Marianne Krumbach (hun deler værksted med Marianne Nielsen, som du også kan læse om i HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no. 5) jeg vil gerne have mere fra hende, men det er nogle helt bestemte af hendes ting, jeg kan lide, så jeg holder øje.”