Art and craft are two insoluble conveyed quantities for gallery owner Ivan Edeling, who for more than 30 years has printed art and has refused to deal with any kind of art below par.

The remark comes from an art lover who does not compromise when it comes to art, Ivan Edeling, serigrapher, lithographic printer and for 34 years owner of Galerie Edeling, one of the oldest galleries in the country.

Started as a boy

Ivan Edeling had already begun serigraphic production as a boy at home in his family’s basement, before he became an apprentice lithographic printer in 1960. He was apprenticed to I. Chr. Sørensen to whom, according to Ivan Edeling, should be given a large part of the credit that litographic art printing has had an unusually large circulation in Denmark.

In 1969 Edeling's mentor felt that he was ready to start up on his own. His first litographic workshop was in Skelbækgade in Copenhagen and was established with support from home in the shape of a security of 5,000 DKK. It meant working almost round the clock and for a long time he slept on a shelf at the office in the workshop. Some of I. Chr. Sørensen's customers went with him when he started up for himself, but Ivan Edeling also got in contact with some other artists.

My luck was that Robert Jacobsen needed to get a folder with prints done for Galerie Birch. That was the start of more than 30 years co-operation and at the same time the meeting with Robert also brought along other assignments, as he recommended Edeling to, amongst others, Mogens Andersen and Egill Jacobsen.

Cut, snip and rip

- I have always emphasized seeing the opportunities which were in the individual artist. That way they have been given the freedom to express what they wanted to. That happened for example when I got a spontaneous idea and suggested to Robert Jacobson to cut, snip and rip black paper. Afterwards I transferred the results onto paper as serigraphic print, and we got some incredibly intense pictures out of it, says Ivan Edeling.

It has also been a major advantage for him in his relation to the artists that he both masters the serigraphy and the litography which later also got to include copper printing.

- In this instance it was Robert Jacobsen who prompted me. He could not just sit still and always had to try new ways. It did not just come to copper printing but also a lot of other experiments where we combined a lot of different print methods.

Creativity and Cobbles

Advanced printing machines and expensive equipment does not impress Ivan Edeling.

- The technique is not unavoidable he emphasizes but art is created first and foremost by creative people. The technique and the expensive machines are just a tool. For example you can get better art out of using a slab or a cobble rather than using a lithographic stone.

I am not an artist

He is in no doubt about his own role as tradesman in relation to the artist.

- I can not make art myself, if I did I would not be able to work with the artist. My job is to find methods and help the artists liberate their own resources. I do that through empathy. When I worked together with Robert Jacobsen yes then I was Robert Jacobsen just like I was Egill Jacobsen in the teamwork with him. That kind of intense teamwork is hard to get with young artists today because they often feel that I get too close to them says Ivan Edeling

Compulsory National Service Over and Done With

- After the death of Robert Jacobsen I felt that my compulsory national service as a printer was done. I have therefore for a period mostly dedicated my time to the gallery and have also spent a lot of time on showing Robert's works on fairs in Cologne and Japan. Apart from that I have been participating in arranging the art fair in Forum for Three years.

Accolade

However, in the Kobberstiksamlingen at Statens Museum for Kunst there is no doubt where you need to go to if you want to do some serious art shopping. In the Autumn of 1995 Galerie Edeling received the accolade from the collection as art dealer by buying for a couple of hundred thousand Kroners worth of Robert Jacobsen works as a supplement to the collections rather sparse selection of the artist's works.

The Trade by HeartDespite the reputation as a serious art dealer through almost a quarter of a century it is not that which counts the most for the gallery owner in Gammel Mønt.

- It is nice to have learnt the trade by heart and it is nice to have been able to make a living by one's hobby. But I would never have survived selling art if I did not also have my trade and the production of graphic arts, states Ivan Edeling.