The Torvald Westergaard Sculpture Path
The Sculpture Path in Lemvig consists of 54 works of art made by the artist Torvald Westergaard, who lived 1901 to 1988. It starts in the garden of Lemvig Museum, continues across the road on a small green, then follows a path going up to the left along the hillside. After a very short walk you reach a flight of stairs going directly up the hill. Midway you can take off to the right to a viewpoint with a view over the town and the fjord. At the top of the stairs you find the garden of a church, where the rest of the sculptures are exhibited. The Sculpture Path is not longer than aproximately 4-500 m, but it will take you along the 54 sculptures in a beautifull landscape in the middle of the town.
The artist Torvald Westergaard
Torvald Westergaard moved to Lemvig in 1923 and started a workshop with artistically made tombstones, many of which can still be seen at the churchyard in Lemvig and in the region. At the beginning of the 1930’ies he started his real artistic career. In the first years his works were mainly naturalistic, but during his lifetime his works became more and more free – not abstract, but still keeping traces of real life. Most often he worked in granite, but he also mastered white marble. As an old man he made his own gravestone, containing all the important years of his life. It was not used and is now in the collection in the garden at the museum. It says:
1901 Torvald Westergaards birth
1905 The birth of his wife Agnete
1914 The beginning of World War I
1916 Starting as apprentice at a tombstone workshop
1918 The end of World War I
1920 Finishing of his education as a stone carver
1923 The etablishment of his own workshop in Lemvig
1925 The marrriage with Agnete
1926-28-31-37-41 The birth of their five children
1939 The beginning of World War II
1940 The occupation of Denmark by the Germans
1945 The end of World War II
1964 Passing the workshop to his son Ejgil Westergaard
1988 The death of Torvald Westergaard
1993 The death of Agnete (The last two years have been carved in the stone by Ejgil Westergaard)
The collection of sculptures at the Sculpture Path dates from a long career; they are made from the 1940’ies to the 1980’ies. They are consequently quite different. Some of them are naturalistic portraits, as for instance the selfportrait from 1942, placed at the gable of the museum (near the gate), and the lovely portrait of an old woman (made 1945-50), placed on the ground at the stairs going down in the garden from the terrasse behind the museum. Others are more freely made, leaving more of the stone’s original surface and character to be part of the artistic expression. A good example of this is the stone with a woman figure, standing at the farthest end of the garden, named ”The Joy and the Graveness of Life” from about 1970. The garden at Lemvig Museum also contains two sculptures concerning the wellknown danish poet Thøger Larsen (1875-1928), who lived in Lemvig. A portrait, made 1958 after photografies and the recollection of the artist, and a more freely made stone with the title ”Aar 2142”, made 1975 to the memory of the poet’s 100 years day. The title means ”The Year 2142”, meaning a total sundarkening, which is going to take place at that year, and which the poet intensely wanted to see, even if he realised that at that time he would have been earth for a very long time. In the small green across the street stands a very charming sculpture – a little man with his hands at his back. It is called ”The Art Lover”. As a matter of fact it is a portrait of a local man with a great love for and interest in art; when he went around at an exhibition he always looked like this. Along the stairs to the top of the hill stands the big sculpture ”Menneskenes Moder” (”The Mother of Man”), made during the years 1944-50. The artist’s wife Agnes was the model for the scuplture. As an old lady she told that it was not always easy to have to be a model, sitting still at the same time, when she would also have to make the housework, take care of the children (who were also teached at home by their parents instead of going to school) and make all the office work of the tombstone firm.
In the garden at the church (Lemvig og Omegns Valgmenighedskirke) stand a collection of scupltures most of which shows the devotion to Christian belief of the artist. Torvald Westergaard was a member of this free congregation church and has made two reliefs sittting at the wall of the church – one of them being a portrait of a former vicar, inspired by the portraits you could sometimes find on the wall of medieval stone churches. This portrait is typically 20th century with the vicar wearing heavy horn glasses. Two of the scupltures are made of former tombstones, originally carved by the artist himself. At one of them you find the name of the deceased weawer Katrine Madsen, an unknown perhaps lonely woman. When Torvald Westergaard bought back the tombstone he carved the figure of a woman holding something in her arms – a cloth, a child or a man she never got? Under the old appletrees stands a lovely litte sculpture in white marble, called ”Solens Datter” (”The Daugther of the Sun”), made 1973. If there is time you can continue along Kirkevej, Storegade and Brovej (here following the railroad). Having crossed a bridge along the rails you will come to a backgate to the churchyard. Following the path to the rigth along the ridge you will soon come to the grave of the artist Torvald Westergaard og his wife Agnete. The tombstone is a sculpture named ”Bernadette” after the famous novel of Frantz Werfel. The artist read the novel and made the scuplture with his own daughter as a model. He also called this sculpture ”Awakening Life”. From the backgate of the churchyard you can cross the rails and follow a winding path going down the hill and ending on the road just a little above the Lemvig Museum.