Emilius Bærentzen og hans jødiske kundekreds
Emilius Bærentzen (1799-1868) is one of the less known portrait painters in the Golden Age of Danish art in the 19th century. As a pupil of C.W. Eckersberg, he became the most popular portrait painter in Copenhagen in the period 1830-1850. Emilius Bærentzen was actually a very prolific portrait painter with a broad clientele, the bulk of whom were firmly situated in the world of the bourgeoisie and the theatre.
During my work with the portrait art of Emilius Bærentzen, it became clear that he did several portraits of Jewish personalities. The Jewish integration and the position of the wealthy Jewish merchant bourgeoisie made them an attractive clientele. This clientele was – in the case of Emilius Bærentzen – not limited to Copenhagen alone, but also to Danish provincial towns with a Jewish element, among these Svendborg. Some af Emilius Bærentzen's most beautiful portraits depict young Jewish ladies, including the merchant daughters Brandt from Svendborg and not least the famous full-length portrait of Johanne Luise Heiberg, which is today located at Thorvaldsens Museum.