HCA NEWS Fantastic paper cutout for the Andersen Museum

The fairy tale writer's largest paper cutout stays in Denmark as it has been purchased for more than half a million DKK

By H.C. Andersen 2005 - 03 December 2002

Yesterday, Odense City Museums acquired the largest paper cutout known to be made by Hans Christian Andersen for the price of DKK 520,000, when the auction hammer went down at Bruun Rasmussen in Copenhagen.  The large sum was obtained through generous contributions by, among others, the New Carlsberg Foundation and the Augustinus Foundation.

The paper cutout is approximately 42 x 34 centimeters.  It was made in May 1864 and sold at a bazaar to raise funds for Danish prisoners of war in Germany. Andersen wrote a little verse on the cutout, which stated the price:

"Den Klipning her er noget dyr,
Den er sat til en halv Rigsdaler.
Men det er et helt klippet Eventyr,
Og dit Hjertelag betaler.

(The cutout here is somewhat dear,
Half a dollar is its price.
But it holds a whole fairy tale,
If your kind heart finds no vice.)

H.C. Andersen.

Denmark's ill-fated war with Germany was a personal sorrow for the writer, who in many ways felt related to the great neighbor to the south.  Moreover, he knew several young men who served in the war, among whom some died and others were wounded.

Hans Christian Andersen felt duty-bound to commit strongly to the Danish side during these months and one of the ways in which he did was by engaging in charity work. It therefore brought him great satisfaction that the large cutout was sold for quadruple the set price: 2 dollars. This large sum was paid by Adolph Bruun, baker to the royal court, in whose family the cutout has remained ever since.

After the auction, Odense City Museums were - to put it mildly - relieved that the cutout would now stay in Denmark and may be placed on exhibition at the new Hans Christian Andersen Museum, where it will be a significant icon of the connection between Denmark's great writer and the historically fateful year of 1864.