Erling Steen is a leading artist in Danish contemporary realism. He was born in 1945 in Copenhagen and made his debut at selected exhibitions in the early seventies when the world-wide revival of representational painting hit Denmark. A majority of his paintings are still-lifes executed in an eyecatching illusionistic style apparently influenced by the classical realism of seventeenth centrury Dutch and Spanish painting.

Erling Steen says, when he was a young painter he discovered that in some paintings everything fell into place like magic, while other paintings did not function at all. He thought that this was a part of the craft that he had to study and practice, and when he was good enough he could start painting something. It even had innocent craft like names like composition and balance. But over the years he  learned that there was no permanent solution and that composition and balance is what it’s all about.

As abstract painting, at the time, was a dead end street, he looked to the 16th and 17th century Dutch, Spanish and French still-life painters who seemed to be walking the middle of the road between representational and abstract painting.

After turning my back on everything modern for a few years, he began to realize that there was an obvious relationship between the paintings he was doing and early modernism and especially cubism, and that he, like the cubists, was working with cubes, cylinders and cones etc. And as the early abstract painters he realized that “form” composition and balance was not something to be learned once and for all, but the main, forever changing and forever challenging subject of painting.
• 1971 to 1977 Debut on selected exhibitions Copenhagen

1977 One man gallery shows Copenhagen

1986 Salon de Peinture Contemporaine Vichy

1986 Salon de la Jeune Peinture, Grand Palais, Paris

1987 Salon de la Jeune Peinture, Grand Palais, Paris

1988 Salon de la Jeune Peinture, Grand Palais, Paris

1990 Figuration Critique, Grand Palais, Paris

1991 Galerie Tretyakov, the Museum of Modern Art, Moscow

1991 Russian Artist Union exhibition hall, Leningrad

1991 The Santillana Foundation, Santillana, Spain

1992 Danish artists self portraits, The Museum of National History, Frederiksborg Castle Denmark

1992 and 1193 “Danish Figurative Painters”, Kastrupgaard exhibition hall, Copenhagen

1997 Frederiksberg Town Hall, Frederiksberg

1999 “Virgin Mary” at Koldinghus Museum, Kolding, Denmark

1999-2000 “Danish Realist Painters”, Danish Art Union, touring exhibition

2000 “Facets of the New Realism”, Skive Art Museum, Skive

2011 Art Cannes, Casino Palm Beach, Cannes