August Vilhelm Saabye
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August Vilhelm Saabye
August Saabye
Black and white portrait of a bearded man with folded arms, wearing a suit
Saabye c. 1900
August Vilhelm Saabye

(1823-07-07)7 July 1823
Skivholme, Aarhus, Denmark
Died12 November 1916(1916-11-12) (aged 93)
Known forSculpture
Notable work
  • Susanna Before the Council, 1883
  • Hans Christian Andersen, 1887

August Vilhelm Saabye (7 August 1823 - 12 November 1916), also known as August Wilhelm Saabye, was a Danish sculptor.[1]

Early life and education

Saabye was born in Skivholme, Skivholme parish [da], Aarhus, the son of vicar Erhard Saabye (1778-1851) and Susanna Schmidt (1785-1856).[1]

He competed as an individual for the Neuhausen Prize in 1854 and although he did not win, his work was praised so that he obtained the support of Herman Wilhelm Bissen and his father's permission to take up sculpture. He studied at the Copenhagen Academy of Fine Arts and then worked in Bissen's studio, learning the neoclassical tradition of Bertel Thorvaldsen. He initially undertook art and design work, then produced small bronzes, reliefs and portrait busts, with elaborate detail and embossing.[2][3][1]

View looking up at a white marble statue of a man with a curly beard wearing classical robes
Peter, 1884, Frederik's Church (the Marble Church), Copenhagen

Saabye went to Rome via Paris in 1855, staying there until 1865, learning more about the sculptures of antiquity. Here he started producing larger statues.[3][1]


Saabye was made a member of the Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1871.[3] His pupils included Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen who studied with him from 1882.[4]

Bronze statue of a seated man raising his right hand while holding a book in his left, on a marble pedestal
Hans Christian Andersen 1887, Rosenborg Castle Gardens, Copenhagen

A major breakthrough and international recognition came in 1883 with what art historian Georg Nordensvan [sv] describes as the "elegant nude figure"[3] in marble of Susanna Before the Council. His most popular work is Hans Christian Andersen of 1887 in the Rosenborg Castle Gardens, Copenhagen.[1] In 1888 he was appointed Professor at the Art School for Women in Copenhagen.[3]

August Saabye died on 12 November 1916 and is buried in Garnisons Cemetery, Copenhagen.[5]

Private life

Saabye married Anna Pauline Hansen (1822-1867) on 26 October 1858 in Rome. They had one son, engineer and entrepreneur Johannes Saabye (1860-1946).[6] After his wife's death in Copenhagen, he married Hanne Louise Augusta Baroness Haxthausen (1831-1911) on 29 September 1869, also in Copenhagen.[1]

See also


Citations - books

  • Bendtsen, P. H.; Vinding, Povl (1979-84). "Johannes Saabye". In Bech, Svend Cedergreen (ed.). Dansk Biografisk Leksikon [Danish Biographical Dictionary] (in Danish) (3rd ed.). Copenhagen: Gyldendal.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Mogensen, Mogens Rafn (1992). "Jugendzeit bis 1900" [Childhood to 1900]. Biographischer Dokumentationsbericht [Carl Nielsen: The Danish Composer: Report on Biographical Documentation] (in German). 1. Arbon, Switzerland: Eurotext (Mogensen). pp. 1-260. ISBN 3-905564-00-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Self-published but thoroughly referenced.
  • Munk, Jens Peter (1994). "August Saabye". Kunstindeks Danmark & Weilbachs Kunstnerleksikon [Danish Art Index and Weilbach's Art Dictionary] (in Danish) (4th ed.). Copenhagen: Kulturarvsstyrelsen [Danish National Cultural Heritage Agency].CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Nordensvan, G. G. (1916). "Saabye, August Vilhelm". In Westrin, Th. (ed.). Nordisk familjebok [Nordic family book] (in Swedish). 24 (2nd ed.). Stockholm: Nordisk familjeboks. pp. 232-233.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Weilbach, Philip (1900). "Saabye, August Vilhelm". Dansk biografisk Lexikon [Danish Biographical Dictionary] (in Danish). 14 (1st ed.). Copenhagen: Gyldendal. pp. 542-544.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

Web page

External links

  • August Saabye in Art Index Denmark. Navigation in English, many details in Danish. The site is the central register of artworks and artists in the collections of Danish state-owned and state-subsidised museums and also links to Munk 1994.

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