AFSMK was founded in September 2009 to strengthen the ties between the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) and the American public. The organization has been established exclusively to support the charitable, educational, and scientific functions of SMK.
The relationship between AFSMK and the National Gallery of Denmark is a traditional “friends of” relationship. AFSMK has determined that the National Gallery of Denmark engages in charitable and educational activities that are germane to the purposes of AFSMK, and that, by supporting SMK projects in both the US and Denmark, AFSMK advances its own purposes.
The primary objectives of the AFSMK are:
- To promote awareness and knowledge of Danish art in the U.S. and among Americans who visit or live in Denmark.
- To encourage and promote cultural and artistic exchanges between SMK and American institutions of art within the areas of transnational exhibitions, educational programs, and professional and scholarly exchanges.
- To help fund the National Gallery of Denmark’s work on building ever-stronger links between the heritage it safeguards and contemporary art and culture; work which takes the form of exhibitions, acquisitions of artworks, rehangs of the collections, and art conservation.
- To maintain and improve visiting conditions for American and other English-speaking visitors by ensuring quality translations of research publications, online collection databases, the SMK website and other credited materials issued by the Gallery.
SMK (Statens Museum for Kunst – The National Gallery of Denmark) houses a large collection of Danish and international paintings, sculptures, drawings and installations. The Gallery’s educational activities include the collection, registration, and conservation of art, research on art history, and general public education.
The extensive SMK collections originate from the holdings of the 17th- and 18th-century Danish kings, particularly those of King Frederik V who, in the 1760s, established a large collection of Old Masters paintings, which he housed at Christiansborg Castle. Christiansborg castle burned in 1884, but nearly all of the paintings were miraculously saved. The surviving collections became the founding collection of SMK, which opened to the public in 1896. SMK now presents between six and eight special exhibitions a year, always based on new research. Since the opening of the Royal Picture Gallery to the public in 1827, the museum has had a mandate to collect contemporary Danish art, and does so to this day.