Collector Claes Nordenhake, who has owned and operated a gallery in Malmö, Switzerland, since 1976, is donating twelve abstract paintings from his collection to the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. All of the works are monochromes and will be shown in a room at the museum later this year.
“Claes Nordenhake is an unusual collector,” Moderna Museet director Daniel Birnbaum said. He noted that visitors stopped coming to his gallery in the 1980s because they felt all the works looked the same. Today, we can see that his eye for the miniscule differences is what has made his own collection so remarkable. His donation is of great philosophical value and documents a moment in the history of painting in a very precise way.”
The majority of the donated works are by artists who are not yet represented in the museum’s collection, including Olle Bærtling, Marcia Hafif, and Robert Ryman. Commenting on his decision to part with the pieces, Nordenhake, said: “A gift like this is a demonstration of my gratitude for having been able to work as a gallerist in a fairly congenial environment where Moderna Museet has been the guiding light. However, gifts are rarely entirely altruistic, so I have decided to go public with my name, rather than make an anonymous donation. Hopefully, this might encourage other collectors to follow my example.”