Ib Geertsen 1919-2009

Ib Geertsen was born on 7th January 1919 in Copenhagen. He was a Danish painter and sculptor.

Originally, Geertsen studied Landscape Architecture (1934-39). In 1937 he met the artist Thorvald Hansen (1895-1945) and started painting with him and the other Aalborg artists. Geertsen's early works were realistically painted landscapes, tabletop compositions and still lives.

Geertsen first exhibited in 1940 at the Autumn Art Exhibition (Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling), a juried exhibition held every year (since 1915) which is held in the Free Exhibition Building (Den Frie Udstillings) in Copenhagen. He exhibited here again 1942-46, 1951 and 1954-57.

By the early 1940s Denmark was under German occupation, Geertsen had become increasingly involved in the Danish avant garde. In 1941, Geertsen helped the art dealer Thorkild Hansen arrange a small exhibition of abstract works (by the artists Asger Jorn, Egill Jacobsen, and Richard Mortensen) at his gallery in Copenhagen. In 1943, Geertsen moved back to Copenhagen and, unsurprisingly, his own work quickly became more abstract and spontaneous.

In 1947, Geertsen, along with the artists Bamse Kragh-Jacobsen, Niels Macholm, Albert Mertz and Richard Winther, was a co-founder of the Linien II (Line II) artists association. Linien (the predecessor to Linien II) was founded in Denmark in the late 1930s and focused on Abstraction and Symbolism. After the Second World War, the emphasis of the revived association (Linien II) was Concrete Art.

Linen II's first exhibition - which also featured performances and concerts alongside the paintings and sculptures - was held at Tokantens Galerie, Copenhagen in Summer of 1948. By 1950, other members included Vilhelm Bjerke Petersen, Richard Mortensen, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, Robert Jacobsen, Paul Gadegaard, Gunnar Aagaard Andersen, Henrik Buch, Helge Jacobsen, Søren Georg Jensen and Knud Nielsen. Linen II was dissolved in 1952.

Geertsen exhibited extensively throughout his life. Notable exhibitions include 'Unge Talenter' (Young talents), Arnbaks Kunsthandel (1944), ‘Abstract Udstilling’, Århus (1946), Linien (the Line), Skanska Konstmus, Lund (1950) - which toured to Riverside Museum, New York and Artists House, London (1951), ‘Linien 3, Konkret Realisme’ (Line 3, Concrete Realism), Charlottenburg, Copenhagen (1956), Linien igen (The Line Again), Winkel & Magnussen, Copenhagen (1958), 'Abstrakt, Konkret' (1961), ‘Konkretism’, Skånska Konstmuseum, Lund, Sweden (1966), Rum i Rum (Space in Space), Aarhus Kunstmuseum (1970), with the Grønningen Group (from 1972), 'Art Danois 1945-1973’, Grand Palais, Paris (1973), Farver go Rum (Colours and Spaces), Århus Kunstbyagning (1974), ‘Tre Linier’ (Three Lines), Copenhagen Contemporary Art Centre (with Paul Gadegaard and Modgens Lohmann) (1982), 'Konkret i Norden, 1907-1960’ (Nordic Concrete Art, 1907-1960), Amos Anderson Art Museum, Helsinki (Nov. 1987 - Jan. 1988) which then toured to four other institutions, including University of Michigan, USA), ‘Linen II’ (The Line II), the Danish National Gallery (1988), Danmark i 50erne (Denmark in the 50s) Aarhus Kunstmuseum (1992), ‘Danske Skulpturer i 125 år' (125 Years of Danish Sculpture), Charlottenburg, Copenhagen (1996), 'Maleri og skulptur 1960-98’ (Painting and Sculpture 1960-98), Randers Museum of Art (1999), Blaa farveværket, Norway (2003), Maison du Danemark, Paris (2004). Retrospectives were held at Den Frie Udstilling (Danish artists association), Copenhagen (1961), Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus (1963), the Munkeruphus (1991) and ARoS Art Museum, Aarhus (2009).

Examples of Geersten’s works are held in the collections of The Danish National Gallery, Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Kastrupgård and Kunstmuseet Køge Skitsesamling (KØS Museum of art in public spaces).

Ib Geertsen died in Copenhagen on 3rd June 2009, aged 90.

Ib Geertsen