The Danish painters who worked in Skagen at the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th century formed an important and unique group. They worked with local motives and painted on the spot, creating a recognizable and, for the time, modern way of painting. Two of the most prominent of them are Anna and Michael Ancher.
Anna and Michael met each other in 1874 in the village of Skagen, where Michael was one of the first of the group that gathered and became known as “the Skagen painters”. Anna, who was born in the region, was also part of the group. Their marriage was in 1880.
Michael Ancher was born on Bornholm, the easternmost island of Denmark, in 1847, and died in Skagen, the northernmost area of Denmark, in 1927, where he lived since 1874.
Michael has painted many scenes with Skagen’s fishermen. In 1879 he became famous with the painting “Will he round the point” (Vil han klare pynten). In this painting we can see some fishermen looking at the sea, wondering whether another fisherman would be able to arrive safely at the harbor.
Other of his famous paintings are, for example, “The lifeboat is carried through the dunes” (Redningsbåden føres gennem klitterne) (1883), “The crew is saved” (Mandskabet reddet) (1894) and “The drowned man” (Den druknede) (1896).
He has studied at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi), where he was taught the classical way of painting, which was quite different from the way he and his colleagues painted in Skagen.
Michael and his colleagues exposed their paintings on the walls of Hotel Brøndum, and in 1946 both the Hotel and the paintings became a museum. In 1967 the house where Michael and Anna Ancher lived with their daughter Helga (who preserved the house as it was after Anna died) also became a part of the museum.
Anna Ancher (1859-1935)
Anna Ancher’s father was Erik Brøndum, the owner of the Hotel where “the painters of Skagen” gathered and lived while they were in the city.
She is one of the best known female painters in Denmark. Anna studied three years with Vilhelm Kyhn, who kept a private painting school for women in Copenhagen. She also studied at the atelier of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes together with Marie Triepcke, who later married Peder Krøyer (one of the most talented painters of Skagen).
Unlike Marie Triepcke, Anna Ancher continued painting after she got married. Anna painted interiors and everyday situations of the locals in Skagen, such as fishermen, children and women.
Some of her paintings are “Girl in the kitchen” (Pigen i køkkenet) (1883) and “Sunshine in the blue room” (Solskin i den blå stue) (1891).