The David Collection

Copenhagen, Denmark

© The David Collection© The David Collection© The David Collection

The David Collection was founded by C. L. David (1878-1960), a prominent Danish attorney, who had begun to collect fine and decorative art in the 1910s. In this last field, he was aided by directors of the Danish Museum of Art and Design, who gradually also guided him to another area that had previously attracted little interest in Denmark: Islamic art. The Islamic part of David’s collection was, however, still rather modest at the time of his death in 1960.

A bachelor and childless, C. L. David left his Copenhagen townhouse and works of art to a private foundation, along with financial means that made it possible to expand his collections. From the 1970s, a decision was consequently made to place increasing emphasis on expanding the Islamic holdings. The Islamic Collection has grown to become not only the museum’s most important, with over 4,000 objects, but also Scandinavia’s most significant in its field.

The Islamic Collection has been built up in keeping with the classical pattern for Western collections of this kind. It embodies works of art from Spain in the west to India in the east, but not works from Sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia. Chronologically, the collection ranges from works dating to shortly after the advent of Islam to the middle of the 19th century. The collection encompasses all types of materials, but since the small rooms of 19th-century buildings like C. L. David’s townhouse, now the museum’s home, make it impossible to exhibit large objects, the museum consequently has only a modest collection of carpets, and they are either of small size or fragments of larger carpets.

Following the museum’s refurbishment and reinstallation of its collections in 2009, the David Collection is now divided into three parts: European 18th-Century Art, Danish Early Modern Art, and Islamic Art. The collection of Islamic Art is presented in a new, contemporary setting, enhanced by digital and other modern techniques used to elucidate the objects on display. The backbone of the collection is 20 chronological/geographical sections, but the display also contains special galleries for light-sensitive materials as well as others dedicated to themes such as cultural history and artistic techniques.

Kronprinsessegade, 30

Postal address: Kronprinsessegade 30-32
T +45 33734949
F +45 33734948

Kjeld von Folsach
T +45 33734949
F +45 33734948

Mette Korsholm
T +45 33734949
F +45 33734948

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