Skagen’s progressive painters
TEXT: JOSEFINE OLDER STEFFENSEN | PHOTO © SKAGENS KUNSTMUSEER
Between 1870 and 1930, a group of artists managed to create a huge number of works of art, influence The Modern Breakthrough in Scandinavia and put the northernmost point of Denmark on the map. The Skagen Painters truly were a phenomenal crowd, and their legacy can be explored in the Art Museums of Skagen.
“The Skagen Painters are renowned worldwide for the distinctly realist paintings of Skagen’s astounding nature, fishermen and people. They were a group of people who were driven by adventure, art and a break from the romantic era. Their paintings depict what life was really like in what was then merely a fishing village with rather harsh living conditions. In a short time, they managed to put Skagen on the map and make it the town that it is today,” explains communication manager Niels Bünemann.
Skagens Museum was originally thought up by some of the artists and local businessmen, as they wanted a place where future generations could view the art created in Skagen. It opened its doors in 1928, and today, it has a permanent exhibition showcasing the best of the artists, as well as a recent extension dedicated to special exhibitions. Two historic homes of artists, Anchers Hus and Drachmanns Hus, also belong to the museum.
The artist couple Anna and Michael Ancher lived in their house – close to the museum – until Anna’s death in 1935, and everything in the house remains as it was then. Anna Ancher was one of the first renowned female artists in Denmark. Holger Drachmann, one of Denmark’s most prominent poets and painters, owned a small house in the western part of the town. All three parts of the museum offer exclusive insight into the life and work of this group of painters in Skagen.
“If it’s a struggle to fit it all in in a day, then it’s a good idea to buy a combination ticket, as you can use it the next day or even a year down the line,” concludes Bünemann helpfully.
Until 8 September, Skagens Museum has an exclusive exhibition showcasing P.S. Krøyer’s most monumental masterpieces. These are not normally available to the public, making it an extraordinary opportunity to see some of the paintings Krøyer created in the winters in Copenhagen. The paintings depict some of Denmark’s most prominent figures from the time. They show his incredible attention to detail and marvellous skill in catching the personalities of the portrayed people.