Wilhelm and Henny Hansen
Wilhelm Hansen was born in Copenhagen on 27 November 1868. He forged a remarkable career in insurance, e.g. as founder of the Danish insurance company Dansk Folkeforsikringsanstalt and as managing director of Hafnia, another Danish insurance company, from 1905 until his death in 1936.
Wilhelm Hansen was was given the title of etatsråd (titular councillor of state) and is often described as a very independent, visionary, and industrious man with a uniquely targeted passion - characteristics which pertain also to his work as an art collector. Through his life Wilhelm Hansen made a space for art, for the sake of his own enjoyment, but also indeed for the sake of bringing art, and french art in particular, to a wider audience throughout Scandinavia. In the picture he is sitting in the French Gallery at Ordrupgaard in 1918 surrounded by his impressive collection of French paintings.
In 1891 Wilhelm Hansen married Henny Soelberg Jensen. Henny was born in 1870 in Nykøbing, Zealand. She and Wilhelm were very young when they met in 1887. One of their first mutual interests was the universal, artificial language Volapük, which Wilhelm taught and wrote textbooks in. This language interested both because of its idealist and universal basis – one language for all mankind.
This photograph may be an engagement picture from around 1889, when Wilhelm was 21 and Henny 19. Wilhelm and Henny pose on the left and Wilhelm’s parents can be seen on the right.