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.

Timeline

1938
Born September 1 in Copenhagen
1962
Studies at the Experimental Art School in Copenhagen; works in the School on painting, graphic arts, 8 millimeter films and performance pieces
1974
First exhibition at Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne; publishes 'Fliegende Blätter'
1977
One-man exhibition in the Museum Folkwang, Essen, with paintings, brick sculptures and books
1988
Publishes books of essays on Delacroix, Manet, Picasso
1990
Receives the Art Prize of NORD/LB, endowed for outstanding efforts in the subject of contemporary art
1996
Receives the 'Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award' and the 'Henrik-Steffens-Award 1996'
2000
Professorship at the 'Städelschule', Frankfurt a.M.
2003
Receives the 'Herbert-Boeckl-Preis' for his lifework
2004
Per Kirkeby currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Læsø and Arnasco

Exhibitions

2014
Die Sammlung im Fokus. Künstlerräume von Nolde bis Kirkeby, Kunsthalle Emden, Emden (solo)
2014
Per Kirkeby, Kunsthalle Gießen, Gießen
2014
Die Sammlung im Fokus. Künstlerräume von Nolde bis Kirkeby, Kunsthalle Emden, Emden (solo)
2014
Per Kirkeby, Kunsthalle Gießen, Gießen, Germany (solo)
2013
Macht/ Wahn/ Vision. Der Turm und urbane Giganten in der Skulptur, Städtische Museen Heilbronn, Heilbronn, Germany (solo)
2013
Penck, Lüpertz, Kirkeby: L’expression gravée, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg (solo)
2013
Per Kirkeby, galerie Bo Bjerggaard, Kopenhagen, Denmark (solo)
2013
Präsentation: Per Kirkeby. Übermalungen, Galerie Michael Werner, Märkisch Wilmersdorf, Germany (solo)
2013
Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (solo)
2013
Gebrannte Erde, Herbert Gerisch Stiftung, Neumünster, Germany (solo)
2013
Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture 1964-2010, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick (solo)
2013
Constable, Delacroix, Friedrich, Goya – Die Erschütterung der Sinne, Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden, Germany (solo)
2013
Per Kirkeby. New Paintings, Michael Werner Kunsthandel, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2013
Strukturen der Natur. Franz Marc und Per Kirkeby: Druckgraphik, Franz Marc Museum, Kochel am See, Germany (solo)
2013
Gestochen scharf – Meisterblätter von Dürer bis Kirkeby, Kramer Museum, Kempen, Germany (solo)
2013
Neunzehnhundertsiebzig. Material, Orte, Denkprozesse, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Luzern, Switzerland (solo)
2013
Figurative Kunst aus Skandinavien, Die Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (solo)
2012
National Gallery of Art, Vilnius, Lithuania
2009
Per Kirkeby Retrospective, Tate Modern, London
2009
Per Kirkeby: Monotypes, Julius Werner Berlin, Berlin
2009
Per Kirkeby: Masonite + Modelle, Museo Nacianal Centro de Arte y Naturaleza, Fundación Beulas, Huesca
2008
Per Kirkeby, Kristinehamns Konstmusum, Kristinehamn, Sweden
2008
Per Kirkeby Retrospective, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
2008
Serial Works on Paper, Julius Werner, Berlin
2008
Series Drawings, Michael Werner Gallery, New York
2008
Per Kirkeby: Tavler & Skulpturer, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen
2008
Black Swan, Michael Werner London, London
2007–2008
Per Kirkeby: New Paintings, Michael Werner Gallery, New York
2007–2008
Per Kirkeby. Skulpturen, Arbeiten auf Papier, Originalgrafik 1979 – 2006, Galerie Noah, Augsburg
2007
Designs settings and costumes for “Romeo and Juliet”, New York City Ballet; first major exhibition in China at Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai; "Per Kirkeby", Galerie Knust, München
2007
Per Kirkeby. Masonites, Galerie Vidal-Saint Phalle, Paris
2007
Per Kirkeby: Neue Bilder, Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne and Julius Werner Berlin, Germany
2007
Per Kirkeby, Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago
2006
Black and White: Drawings for Summer, Michael Werner Gallery, New York
2006
Eye on Europe: Prints, Books & Multiples / 1960 to Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2005
Per Kirkeby – Prototypes of Nature, Kunsthalle im Emden, Emden
2005
Per Kirkeby – DS Art Galerie, Frankfurt am Main
2005
Per Kirkeby, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel
2005
Per Kirkeby / Crystal – Reflections, Connections and References, Aargaouer Kunsthaus, Aarau
2005
Homage to Chillida, Guggenheim, Bilbao
2005
Per Kirkeby, Galerie Vidal-Saint Phalle, Paris
2005
Per Kirkeby: Recent Masonites, Michael Werner Gallery, New York
2005
Per Kirkeby: Recent Masonites, Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne
2005
Per Kirkeby, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CA
2005
Per Kirkeby: New Paintings, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Kopenhagen
2004
Per Kirkeby: Bilder, Masonite, Zeichnungen, Galerie Gabriele von Loeper, Hamburg
2004
Per Kirkeby L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CA
2004
Per Kirkeby: Natur und Gestalt. Retrospektive der Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Städtisches Kunstmuseum Singen
2004
Per Kirkeby – Retrospettiva dei Disegni, Accademia Tedesca in Roma, Villa Massimo, Rom
2003
Per Kirkeby – Natur und Gestalt. Retrospektive der Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Sinclair-Haus, Bad Homburg v.d.H.
2002
Per Kirkeby. Monotypes, University Art Gallery, University Massachusetts Dartmouth, North Dartmouth (MA)
2002
DC: Per Kirkeby. 122 x 122 - Gemälde auf Masonit', Museum Ludwig, Cologne
2001
Per Kirkeby. Monotypien, Masonite, Bronzen, Deutsche Bank Luxembourg, Luxemburg
2000
Per Kirkeby. Die Karlsruher Jahre, im Hallenbau A, Städtische Galerie Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe
1998
Per Kirkeby. Schilderijen, sculpturen en modellen in brons/Peintures, Sculptures et modèles en bronze', Paleis voor Schone Kunsten/Palais des Beaux Arts, Brüssel
1997
Per Kirkeby - Malerier og skulpturer, Galleri Riis, Oslo
1996
Per Kirkeby. Peintures 1992 - 1996, Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou, Centre d'art contemporain, Cajarc-Lot, France
1991
Per Kirkeby. Pinturas y Esculturas, Galeria Gamarra y Garrigues, Madrid
1990
Galerie Biedermann Munich, Germany
1987
Ludwig Museum Cologne
1985
Whitechapel Art Gallery London
1984
An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York
1982
Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven
1978
Kunsthalle Bern
1977
Museum Folkwang Essen
1975
Royal Museum of Fine Art Copenhagen

Literature

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