Per Kirkeby, Gentofte Kirke, 2008
Photo: Lars Gundersen


Sinne Lundgaard

Per Steen Hebsgaard has been the craftsman on numerous art projects, as well as, restoration projects since he was educated as glazier at a young age.
In 1986, he opened own company – Hebsgaard A/S – and, at first worked from different locations in Copenhagen. Since 2002, Hebsgaard A/S has been located in Præstø, a small town about 80 km south of Copenhagen.
Most Danish artists who work with glass use Per Hebsgaard's expertise to realize their projects, as do artists from other Scandinavian countries, and some from Central and Eastern Europe.
In Præstø, they drop by for lively discussions or to work in the studio – some even stay for longer periods of time.

Posted 25 April 2018

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Capable of executing the most spectacular ideas, Hebsgaard's role goes even further: He urges artists from other fields to work in glass and challenges those artists already in the field to try more difficult projects. So, on top of being an excellent craftsman he is partly responsible for the existence of many works of art.
Modestly, Hebsgaard consider himself a craftsman who uses his expertise to execute ideas. However, many people will claim that Hebsgaard is an artist in his own field. Numerous times he's explored new ground – working with glass in ways previously seen impossible.
One example (see photo) is Hebsgaard's collaboration with artist Frans Widerberg (Norway 1934 - 2017). Among other works they created an equestrian statue – a sculpture in glass which can be seen in Copenhagen Airport. The glass was first painted, and afterwards molded and burned over a clay form. 

Frans Widerberg, Copenhagen Airport, 1998
Photo: Lars Gundersen

From the start, Hebsgaard's motivation was to explore glass as material for use in extraordinary works of art. While innovative with glass, Hebsgaard finds it equally important to nurture tradition: “You have to take care of the old stuff if you want to defend the new”.

An example of taking old techniques into new ground is Hebsgaard's collaboration with artist Per Kirkeby (Denmark 1938 -). One project to enlighten is Gentofte Kirke where 11 new windows were created in 2008 (see photos). Kirkeby combines oil painting with stained glass techniques and uses lead as a sculptural extension of the painting: “Glass painting is painting. You paint on glass with colours, it burns, you paint again – you paint until your picture appears with colours and contour. Then you put the pieces together with lead, it is a structure and you can voluntarily draw with the lead.” (Victor B Andersen's maskinfabrik p 38, my translation).

Per Hebsgaard
Photo by Lars Gundersen

Per Kirkeby, Gentofte Kirke, 2008

Countless are the projects that Hebsgaard executed over the years.

In 2016-2017, Hebsgaard's retrospective – The Art in the Light (according to himself his last large exhibition) displaying a wide selection of artworks from artists who were working with him and his staff throughout his long career. The exhibition was shown in Denmark at both the Museum for Religious Art, Lemvig and the Sophienholm Art Museum, Lyngby.
Niels Lyksted, Journalist og TV-producer has made a nice video from the exhibition at Sophienholm Art Museum – see link below.
When I met with Per Hebsgaard in August at Sophienholm, we talked about the past and the exhibited works, about the present. Today it is difficult, he said, to make artistic projects due to less funding possibilities. Luckily, there are restoration projects to fill the calendar instead.
For the future, a huge project is already in progress – KunsthalGlas – the first permanent Kunsthalle for glass in Europe. Historically, a Kunsthalle is a German exhibition hall that is a non-collecting institution that presents art on loan from other institutions or individuals. Per Hebsgaard has donated 10 works of art – and 100 other works from Hebsgaard will be exhibited there on a regular basis.
Happy Birthday Per. Many happy years with interesting projects to come!

Hebsgaard A/S – Mønsvej 70, DK-4720 Præstø – Tel. +45 (0)3871 7055 – email:

More about Hebsgaard:
Video from Sophienholm:
Video from Gentofte Kirke (Per Kirkeby):
These and other videos can also be found on:
The KunsthalGlas project is described at the website (unfortunately only in Danish):

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