Per Kirkeby (Danish, b. September 1, 1938) is an accomplished painter, sculptor, and printmaker. Kirkeby was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and he studied geology at the University of Copenhagen, graduating with a master's degree in 1964. Between 1958 and 1972, Kirkeby did geological work in Greenland, entering the Eksperimenterende Kunstskole, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1972. Kirkeby is a well-traveled artist; he has been on expeditions to different places like Central Asia, Greenland, Iceland, Central America, and the Mediterranean. The experiences of nature he gathered during his travels are evidenced in his work. He worked with Joseph Beuys (German, 1921–1986) in the 1960s, and Germany has always played a key role in his work, as he went to Berlin in 1982 on a DAAD scholarship.

He held his first exhibition at the Michael Werner Gallery, in Cologne, Germany, in 1974. It was in Berlin that he was influenced and inspired by Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) and started still-life paintings. From 1978 to 1989, Kirkeby taught at the Karlsruhe Academy of Fine Arts and then went to teach at the Städelschule academy, in Frankfurt, Germany, until 2000. Kirkeby once said that it was this German connection that made him a world artist.

Kirkeby has received a number of awards, such as the Herbert-Boeckl-Preis (2003), for his lifework, the Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award (1996), and the Henrik-Steffens-Award 1996. Over the years, Kirkeby has been involved in numerous exhibitions in diverse places all over the world. Some of his exhibitions include those at the Royal Museum of Fine Art, in Copenhagen, Denmark (1975), Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, in Eindhoven, the Netherlands (1982), Michael Werner London, in England (2008), and Julius Werner, in Berlin, Germany (2009). His works are diverse and include Strandbillede Laesø (1983), Ohne Titel (1998), and Abnehmen (1986). Many public collections hold Kirkeby's works all over the world, in diverse places such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, NY, the Tate Gallery, in London, England, and the Centre Pompidou, in Paris, France. Kirkeby is represented by prestigious museums around the world including Stedilijk Museum, in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Tate Gallery, in London, England, and Ludwig Museum, in Cologne, Germany. Kirkeby lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark, Amasco, Italy, and Frankfurt, Germany.


Born in Copenhagen, Denmark
Studies at the Experimental Art School in Copenhagen; works in the School on painting, graphic arts, 8 millimeter films and performance pieces
First exhibition at Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne, Germany; publishes 'Fliegende Blätter'
One-man exhibition in the Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany, with paintings, brick sculptures and books
Publishes books of essays on Delacroix, Manet, Picasso
Receives the Art Prize of NORD/LB, endowed for outstanding efforts in the subject of contemporary art
Receives the Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award and the Henrik-Steffens-Award 1996
Professorship at the Städelschule, Frankfurt a.M.
Receives the Herbert-Boeckl-Preis for his lifework
Lives and works in Copenhagen and Læsø, Denmark, and Arnasco, Italy


Die Sammlung im Fokus: Künstlerräume von Nolde bis Kirkeby, Kunsthalle Emden, Emden, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby, Kunsthalle Gießen, Gießen, Germany
Macht/ Wahn/Vision: Der Turm und urbane Giganten in der Skulptur, Städtische Museen Heilbronn, Heilbronn, Germany (solo)
Penck, Lüpertz, Kirkeby: L’expression gravée, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, France (solo)
Per Kirkeby, galerie Bo Bjerggaard, Kopenhagen, Denmark (solo)
Präsentation: Per Kirkeby. Übermalungen, Galerie Michael Werner, Märkisch Wilmersdorf, Germany (solo)
Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, England (solo)
Gebrannte Erde, Herbert Gerisch Stiftung, Neumünster, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture 1964-2010, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, USA (solo)
Constable, Delacroix, Friedrich, Goya: Die Erschütterung der Sinne, Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby: New Paintings, Michael Werner Kunsthandel, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Strukturen der Natur, Franz Marc und Per Kirkeby: Druckgraphik, Franz Marc Museum, Kochel am See, Germany (solo)
Gestochen scharf: Meisterblätter von Dürer bis Kirkeby, Kramer Museum, Kempen, Germany (solo)
Neunzehnhundertsiebzig: Material, Orte, Denkprozesse, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Luzern, Switzerland (solo)
Figurative Kunst aus Skandinavien, Die Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (solo)
National Gallery of Art, Vilnius, Lithuania
Per Kirkeby Retrospective, Tate Modern, London, England (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Monotypes, Julius Werner Berlin, Berlin, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Masonite + Modelle, Museo Nacianal Centro de Arte y Naturaleza, Fundación Beulas, Huesca, Spain
Per Kirkeby, Kristinehamns Konstmusum, Kristinehamn, Sweden (solo)
Per Kirkeby Retrospective, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (solo)
Serial Works on Paper, Julius Werner, Berlin, Germany
Series Drawings, Michael Werner Gallery, New York, USA
Per Kirkeby: Tavler & Skulpturer, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen, Denmark
Black Swan, Michael Werner London, London, England
Per Kirkeby: New Paintings, Michael Werner Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Per Kirkeby. Skulpturen, Arbeiten auf Papier, Originalgrafik 1979 – 2006, Galerie Noah, Augsburg, Germany
Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China
Per Kirkeby, Galerie Knust, München, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Masonites, Galerie Vidal-Saint Phalle, Paris, France (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Neue Bilder, Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne and Julius Werner, Berlin, Germany
Per Kirkeby, Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, USA (solo)
Black and White: Drawings for Summer, Michael Werner Gallery, New York, USA
Eye on Europe: Prints, Books & Multiples / 1960 to Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Per Kirkeby, Galerie Vidal-Saint Phalle, Paris, France (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Recent Masonites, Michael Werner Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Recent Masonites, Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, USA (solo)
Per Kirkeby: New Paintings, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Kopenhagen, Denmark (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Prototypes of Nature, Kunsthalle im Emden, Emden, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby: DS Art Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby / Crystal: Reflections, Connections and References, Aargaouer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland
Homage to Chillida, Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain
Per Kirkeby: Bilder, Masonite, Zeichnungen, Galerie Gabriele von Loeper, Hamburg, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, USA (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Natur und Gestalt. Retrospektive der Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Städtisches Kunstmuseum, Singen, Germany
Per Kirkeby: Retrospettiva dei Disegni, Accademia Tedesca in Roma, Villa Massimo, Rome, Italy (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Natur und Gestalt, Retrospektive der Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Sinclair-Haus, Bad Homburg v.d.H., Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Monotypes, University Art Gallery, University Massachusetts Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, USA (solo)
DC: Per Kirkeby. 122 x 122 - Gemälde auf Masonit', Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Monotypien, Masonite, Bronzen, Deutsche Bank Luxembourg, Luxemburg (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Die Karlsruher Jahre, im Hallenbau A, Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Schilderijen, sculpturen en modellen in brons/Peintures, Sculptures et modèles en bronze', Paleis voor Schone Kunsten/Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium
Per Kirkeby: Malerier og skulpturer, Galleri Riis, Oslo, Norway (solo)
Per Kirkeby: Peintures 1992 - 1996, Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou, Centre d'art contemporain, Cajarc-Lot, France
Per Kirkeby: Pinturas y Esculturas, Galeria Gamarra y Garrigues, Madrid, Spain
Galerie Biedermann, Munich, Germany
Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany
Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, England
An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Kunsthalle, Bern, Switzerland
Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
Royal Museum of Fine Art, Copenhagen, Denmark


Tøjner, Poul Erik: Per Kirkeby. Malerei. Köln : König, 2003
Per Kirkeby. Natur und Gestalt. Retrospektive der Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, (Sinclair-Haus, Altana Kulturforum, Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe; Deutsche Akademie Rom, Villa Massimo; Städtisches Kunstmuseum Singen). Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe : ALTANA, 2003
Per Kirkeby. Sorte billeder og bronzer. Schwarze Bilder und Bronzen, (Kat. Museumsberg, Flensburg, Tønder/ Flensburg: Sønderjyllands Kunstmuseum/Museumsberg, 1999
Kirkeby, Per: Gespräche mit Lars Morell, Köln: König, 1998, (Kunstwissenschaftliche Bibliothek; Bd. 8), Zugl. Kopenhagen: Borgens, 1997
Per Kirkeby. Großformatige Zeichnungen 1977-1994, (Kat.), Portikus, Frankfurt a.M., Münster: Kleinheinrich, 1994
Per Kirkeby. Gemälde, Arbeiten auf Papier, Skulpturen 1977-90, (Kat.), Frankfurt a.M.: Städelsches Kunstinstitut, 1990
Per Kirkeby. Pinturas, esculturas, grabados y escritos, (Kat.), Valencia: IVAM, Centre del Carme, 1989
Per Kirkeby. Übermalungen 1964-1984, (Kat.), München: Kunstraum, 1984
Hunov, John: Per Kirkeby. Oeuvrekatalog 1958-1977 over raderinger, linoleumssnit, træsnit, Kopenhagen: Borgens, 1979
Per Kirkeby. Fliegende Blätter, (Kat.), Essen: Museum Folkwang, 1977