Visual Memory


“Welcome, come on in,” Mikael Andersen says. Enthusiastically he continues to talk about the apartment, the former inhabitants (the silversmith Michelsen and family, who had their initials engraved in the plates of the door handles), and the art carefully displayed; on the walls, the floors, and the furniture. The home is as welcoming and full of stories as the gallery owner and collector of art and design for decades himself.


Story by Marie-Louise Høstbo

Mikael Andersen opened the gallery that carries his name in 1987 in Copenhagen. First, it was in a backyard further down the street from the location at number 63, where it has been since 1989. Today, 250 exhibitions later, he is still as dedicated to his work as when he started collecting lithographs at 15. Andersen began his working life as a nurse; later, he owned several restaurants before opening the gallery and turning a passionate hobby into work.

"Andersen’s knowledge of art, architecture, and history is a foundation for creating a wonderful interior, which continuously inspires visitor."

Before graduating as a nurse, only 23 years old, Andersen needed a sofa for his apartment in Dragør, a picturesque former fisher village outside Copenhagen. He researched and finally found the clean lines in the 2333 sofa designed by Børge Mogensen in 1971 for Fredericia Furniture in natural leather and with down-filled cushions filled his requirements. The simple aesthetics of the design and the exquisite quality were great for the interior, which had the continuing art collection as a center point. The patina of the sofa only gets more beautiful over the years; recently, the cushions have had new filling; otherwise, it has been maintained with leather polish only.

The design of the sofa marked the end of Børge Mogensen’s leather-covered lounge designs. Mogensen passed the year after the sofa's design, leaving a great legacy of exquisite and straightforward designs that suited the modern interior. Mogensen too lived with a similar design and art as an integrated part of the interior.

"He has an eye for the entirety,
as well as the detail."

The home of Mikael Andersen is in a building from 1847, designed by the architect Johan Frederik Holm (1803-1877). Holm led the construction of the Thorvaldsen Museum. The colors of the facade follow the color setting of the museum. The height of the space is grand, and the rooms are plenty and large. They are decorated with classic Danish furniture design by Mogens Lassen, Kaare Klint, Børge Mogensen, and Mogens Koch. The clear aesthetics complement the architecture of the 19th-century building, and Andersen has sensitively collected the classic colors for each room inspired by Bertel Thorvaldsen and Jørgen Sonne. These intense colors make the spaces stand out each on its own and emphasize the human and welcoming scale of the apartment. The colorful walls serve as the backdrop for the art, and it is a contrast to the white cube in the gallery—a brilliant and powerful way of showcasing how to live with art.

The dark red color of the wall behind the Børge Mogensen sofa makes the Martin Kippenberger painting stand out with its pink color. Andersen’s knowledge of art, architecture, and history is a foundation for creating a wonderful interior, which continuously inspires visitors. Wherever you look there is sublime art and when gazing out the windows you can see the roofs of Design Museum Denmark - it is like a Wilhelm Hammerhøi painting itself.

Mikael Andersen is very generous; he shows great confidence in his colleagues and the artists he works with. The trust has manifested itself in an artist's residence next to his summer house. The part atelier, part living space, was designed by the Danish architect Henning Larsen. He had a great understanding of the Northern light in his buildings; this is significant in the studio of the artist residence at Andersen’s summer house. Andersen knows how artists work, and here he offers them both space and time to work.

"The height of the space is grand,
and the rooms are plenty and large."

The close collaboration between the gallerist and the artist interrelates with the approach Mikael Andersen had to people in his former careers as first a nurse and later owner of several restaurants in the center of Copenhagen. Andersen’s structural approach to work and life is combined with an abundancy towards people, and this has led to a life with art, not only in Copenhagen but international as well, and in the artist residence artists from all over the world can be inspired by the architecture, the Nordic light and have excellent mentoring from Mikael Andersen. He is always ready to help as an assistant, using his incredible knowledge of working methods.

The apartment and the summer house connect historic architecture, inhabitants with style, modern Danish furniture, and contemporary art. All of this is in the best of care of Mikael Andersen. He has an eye for the entirety, as well as the detail.