The Rydeng Family

The Rydeng legacy: A modern art collection.
The art-loving tailor, Niels-Peder Rydeng, had by the 1920ties, one of the largest modern art collections ever seen in Scandinavia. Niels-Peder Rydeng was not a wealthy man, and most of his life he could only acquire art through untraditional methods.
One of his methods was swabbing and he often invited young artists to take a piece from his collection in exchange for one of their artworks. Another successful method were offering the young artists a collection of tailor-made suits in exchange for some
of their artworks.
Among the many visitors in his house were modern artists like; Edvard, Munch, Olouf höst, Edvard weie, J.F Willumsen, Sigurd Swane, Borge L. Knudsen, Folmer Bonnén and Karl Isakson.

The N.P Rydeng guestbook from 1920, with scetches and signatures of the many visiting modern artists of the time.
In 1925 the modern collection filled Rydeng entire house and tailor shop. It was more a museum than a house and Niels-Peder Rydeng began looking for houses where he could open a museum. In 1930 Niels-Peder Rydeng offered to donate his entire collection to the city of Ellsinore in exchange for providing him a building for his works. The city sadly declined his offer and in 1935, Niels-peder begun selling from his collection to the auction house “ Winkel og Magnussen.
253 works of art was sold in 1935. Among them were 43 works by Edward Munch and many other works by artists like; Harald Giersing, Jais Nielsen, Theodor Philipsen, Olaf Rude, William Scharff, Frits Syberg, Edvard Weie and Ernst Zeuthen.
The auction house Winkel og Magnussen published a special catalog for the sale of the Collection and wrote the following passage: “ The N.P Rydeng collection is the result of 25 years of true respect and adornment of art. A man with very restricted resources but with a boundless love of the arts.

The Rydeng auction catalog 1935.

Niels - Peder Rydeng died in 1949, 14 years after the famous auction sale. At his death he left more than 200 important modern works. The many paintings were diverted into smaller groups and given to his 12 children and to friends of the family.
Translation and photos by my sister Josephine Rydeng, the maintainer of all obro-artgallery`s eBay auctions here  She is also a great collector of fine Scandinavian modernism. 

Early Art collecting in the Rydeng family: The story of Niels-Peder Rydeng 

( 1880-1949 )

Promotion for Rydeng tailor shop. Published in 1907.

The interest of art collecting in the Rydeng family began with Niels-Peder Rydeng ( great-grandfather) around  1905. Niels-Peder who came from a humble background, had traveled to Berlin and Vienna around the 1890ties looking for work as a tailor. During his travels he browsed the different exhibitions and there he got introduced to early German modernism and expressionism. It was also around this time when Niels-Peder first saw the works by Edvard Munch at the November Exhibition in 1892. The Munch exhibition made a deep impact on Niels-Peder and influenced his collecting all through his life.

In 1905 Niels-peder opened his own tailor-shop in Ellsinore, Denmark where he by coincidence hired the Finnish artist Tyko Sallinen (1879-1955) who was working as a tailor at the time. 
Sallinen. Selfportrait. 1914.
It did not take Niels-peder a long time to realize that the young Sallinen was not only a skillful tailor but also an extraordinary unique and brilliant painter. Niels-peder encouraged the young Sallinen to spend more time on painting and helped him acquire painting materials and canvases. In return Sallinen helped with making covers
and designs to promote Niels-peder tailor shop.

Sallinen wrote to his artist friends telling about Niels-peders generousness and how he got free room and border in exchange for paintings. The word quickly spread and soon more Finnish artists turned up. Among them were Juhu Mäkelä (1885-1943), Jonas Peson (1887-1952) , Jalmari Ruokokoski (1886–1936) and William Lönnberg (1887–1949).

William Lönnberg:
Portrait of Leif Rydeng. 1914

Jalmari Ruokokoski:
Portrait of Toni Rydeng. 1913
Jalmari Ruokokoski :
Portrait of Niels-Peder Rydeng. 1913

A snapshot of my Father's office/working space.

My greatest inspiration, father and the owner of Obro art gallery in Copenhagen and son of the artist Leif Rydeng. has been dealing with art most of his lifetime and deals today in antique and modern European paintings. He is also an expert and great collector of antique ship models, nautical items and antique african masks.


Thorvaldsen Plads Antique Market has been run by my mother for over 20 Years. It's absolutely my favorite flea market in Copenhagen.

" A flea market really do surprise when revealing items of great details, rarity and quality. When every single object found are of extraordinary rarity and significant age, when items of worthlessness are impossible to spot, you know you are standing on Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Plads,  - one of Copenhagen’s best markets!
High quality has brought about mottled and passionate customers, collectors, specialists, and foreign guests that appreciate a good hunt.
The market was previously situated by Gammel Strand, when the underground stations  turned many of the city’s districts upside down.  Nowadays the shopkeepers gather on Fridays and Saturdays from the 1st weekend of May until the last in October. Usually situated behind the Thorvalsens Museum wall, however, it can also take place by the marble bridge just across the National museum, in the opposite direction of the square.   
Wherever the market is placed, it will always be found in the remarkable surroundings by the canals, and buildings in the middle of Copenhagen’s pulsating yet serene atmosphere." 
Scanned by Rydeng via Antique & Auction Magazine


My mother´s shop
 Photos by Rydeng

My mother's window dispalys - Antik & Decor shop  in Copenhagen/Strandboulevarden 25, Østerbro. She also runs 2 Flea Markets every summer ( Thorvaldsens Plads Antique Market at Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads 2 & Wednesday Flea Market at Købmagergade 52) A great place to find antiques & collectables of all kinds..