Our Untold History Tour at the Museum of Hendrik Christian Andersen will show you one of the greatest collections in homosexual history in Rome.
Hendrik Christian Andersen (April 17, 1872 – December 19, 1940) was an American sculptor, painter and urban designer from Norway.
Andersen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1872. As a child, he emigrated with his family in Newport, Rhode Island, the following year. In 1893, Andersen traveled to Europe to study art and ended up in Rome, settling for the rest of his life.
In Rome, he had a lot of friends including painters and writers. He developed a passion for art and much of his work was made for the project of a Perfect World City, the “City-World”, full of art, and that would motivate humanity to pursue a utopy.
In 1899, Andersen met Henry James, the American writer and patriot. Although James was about 30 years older, the two developed an intense relationship that lasted until the death of James in 1915. Although the precise nature of this relationship is still subject to dispute, the two exchanged numerous letters that show a very tight homoerotic love, perhaps best illustrated by a letter to James Andersen, following the death of the latter’s brother. dated 9 February 1902, in which James wrote:
"The fact that I can not help you, see you, talk to you, touch you, hold you tight for a long time or do anything to reassure you and make you feel my deep participation – this torments me, dear boy, it makes me ache for you and for myself; I’m screeching teeth and groaning against the bitterness of these things […]"
Andersen died in Rome in 1940, donating his house ( “Villa Helene”), the study, documents and more than 400 works to the Italian Government.
His house has been restored and converted into a museum and contains much of the work of Andersen, as well as those of other artists and contemporary photographers, his friends and acquaintances.
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