Effie Hegermann-Lindencrone was born in Hillerød, Denmark, on August 27, 1860. This photo of her was taken in July 1879, a month before her nineteenth birthday:
The carte-de-visite portrait was made at one of the two studios owned by photographer Lars Dinesen, either in Odense or in Fredericia:
A year after the photo was taken, Effie enrolled at the Drawing School for Women (Tegneskolen for Kvinder), where she would remain for five years (1880-1885). While there, she met Fanny Garde (1855-1928), a young teacher who had been a member of the school’s first entering class of students in 1876. In 1886, Effie and Fanny were invited to work at the Bing & Grøndahl Porcelain Factory, where they would share a studio. The two women would continue to work together at Bing & Grøndahl, and eventually live together, until Fanny’s death in 1928.
The Danish auction house Bruun Rasmussen wrote the following in 2014 (edited slightly for clarity):
Effie Hegermann-Lindencrone’s and Fanny Garde’s chosen motifs are those of naturalistic flowers, plants, insects and especially seaweed. The porcelain is artistically modelled in relief, making the effects of light and shadow interact beautifully with the underglaze decoration. There is no doubt that the two artists’ porcelain creations for Bing & Grøndahl are among the finest Danish examples of skønvirke-porcelain.
(Skønvirke is the Danish form of Jugendstil or Art Nouveau.)
Effie Hegermann-Lindencrone (1860-1945) is now considered by many to be the most talented and successful porcelain artist of the Art Nouveau period in Denmark. Her work can be found in numerous museum collections, including the V&A. Her Covered Vase (1916) at the Art Institute of Chicago is particularly striking.
Most of the information available online about Effie is in Danish. However, I found one website in English, A Private Collection of Danish Porcelain, which features photographs of a number of her unique creations. I contacted the website’s owner, who lives in Germany. For privacy reasons he prefers to remain anonymous online, but he kindly responded to my email and granted permission to reproduce some of the photos from his website here. I picked three vases and asked if he would consider writing a few words about them for this post. Below are his photos of the vases, in order of their creation, and his thoughts about them.
Fern and Grasshopper Vase (1906)
“Effie and Fanny created more than 3000 unique pieces numbered in their own system. This fern vase with grasshoppers at the upper rim is one of those nice examples of the Danish Art Nouveau. The fern is so precisely painted in each detail and color variation. The grasshoppers are carved into the hard porcelain and the vase is slightly pierced, giving the observer the impression of a plastic animal. The vase was created in 1906, it is 30 cm high.”
Marine Life Vase (1916)
“Another example of her skill is this Marine Life Vase that Effie created in 1916. While the rest of the world drowned in chaos, Effie executed this delicate piece of the later Art Nouveau. Looking closely at the vase you will be able to recognize crabs, mussels and fish finding their way though the waving seaweed. The complete vase scene is carved and gives a plastic picture of the scene that gets dynamic the longer you look at it. Natural and intensive colors characterize the decoration.”
Seaweed Vase (1924)
“A masterpiece of her works is certainly the large seaweed vase. Effie was already 64 years old when she executed this vase. The elegant shape of the vase directs the view of the observer to the sea anemones depicted in front of seaweed. The vase is strongly carved and pierced at the neck. Again this technique enables a dynamic impression of the underwater scenery. Very precise choice and execution of the colors underline this extraordinary work, which was owned by an important family in Denmark for a long time. The sister piece of this vase is located at the CLAY Museum in Denmark. A stunning piece of artwork in porcelain, 64 cm high.”
If you’d like to see more of Effie Hegermann-Lindencrone’s work, an image search online will bring up plenty of results. You probably won’t see another picture of her, though. I haven’t managed to find one. This carte-de-visite came from an old album of Danish photographs in England. Were other photos of her lost or destroyed? Do any exist in museum archives? If they do, I hope to see them someday.
Dansk Kvindebiografisk Leksikon (Danish text, no photos)
Kunstindeks Danmark & Weilbachs Kunstnerleksikon (Danish text, no photos)