Click on photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Michael Peter Ancher

Fishermen Trakker vod Skagen, Michael Ancher
Virtually every developed country on earth has what we've come to call "artists' colonies." They go back at least to the Renaissance when the Tuscany area of Italy near Florence was rife with painters, sculptors, and architects. Some such enclaves today, such as the St. Ives, area of Cornwall(far western tip of England) are nearly two-hundred years old. In the United States, Taos, New Mexico as well as Laguna Beach and Carmel in California top the western list; while in the East we have the area around Provincetown, Massachusetts, Woodstock, New York, as well as Ox-bow, located in Saugatuck, Michigan, to name just a few. The one thing they all have in common is a unique geography manifesting itself in a plethora of inspiring landscape vistas. (It doesn't hurt if they're near major art markets as well.)
Sea Promenade, 1896, Michael Ancher. Skagen also
had lovely ladies to beautify its barren beaches.
Skagen, Denmark, divides the
North Sea from the Baltic.
Yet the northern European coun-try of Denmark has a century-old art colony having none of these traits. The small fishing village of Skagen does have a rather barren coast which, I suppose, might be said to possess a certain solemn beauty of its own as seen in Ancher's Strandszene (Beach scene, below, left). But mostly what Skagen has going for it is the rugged individuality and unique character of its modest seafaring pop-ulation. Today that population is just over eight-thousand. but when the Danish painter, Michael Peter Ancher, arrived there in the early 1870s, the number of artists in that population rivaled that of the fishermen who lived there. These artists became known as the Ska-gen Painters; and their leader, Michael Ancher, became the most prominent artist in the group.

A painter as rugged as the fishermen he painted.
Strandszene (Beach scene),
Michael Ancher
Michael Peter Ancher was born in 1927 on the island of Bornholm (a small eastern island in the Baltic). His father was a local merchant. Michael attended school in Rønne (the only major town on the island) but was unable to complete high school when his father ran into financial difficulties, forcing him to fend for himself. He studied at the Royal Dan-ish Academy of Art in Copen-hagen (1871-75) but left with-out graduating. One of Anch-er's student companions was Karl Madsen who invited him to travel to Skagen, in the far north area of Jutland where the Baltic and North Sea converge. From the mid-1870s, he and Madsen became key members of the Skagen Painters, who congregated there each summer. The group of painters regularly met in the Brøndums Hotel in Skagen to exchange ideas.

The work of Anna Ancher is something of a female counterpart to that of her husband.
It was at the Brøndums Hotel that Michael Ancher met fellow painter and Skagen native, Anna Brøndum (above), whose father owned the hotel. The two were married in 1880. Anna painted next to her husband during the first years of their marriage. The couple had a home and studio in the “Garden House”, which has now been moved to the Skagen Museum garden. After the birth of his daughter, Helga in 1883, the family moved to Markvejen in Skagen. Ana Ancher was also a very skilled painter, though her work tends toward domestic genre and family portraits.

Appraising the Day's Work, 1883, Anna and Michael Ancher
Art Critics, Michael, Ancher
Ancher achieved his artistic breakthrough in 1879 with the painting Vil han klare pynten Will He Round the Point? (below). The title apparently presents a challenge for Internet robot translators. It was hilariously mistrans-lated by Bing from Danish to English as, "Will He Clear My Thingy?" Incidentally, Google didn't do much better. They translated it "He Will Clear Decorations." Michael Ancher's works depict Skagen's heroic fishermen and their dramatic experiences at sea, combining realism and with classical compos-ition. Important works include The Lifeboat is Carried Through The Dunes, from 1883, and The Drowned Man from 1896. Danish art critics, whom Ancher characterizes with un-expected humor (right), nonetheless loved and respected his work.

Will He Clear the Point, 1879, Michael Ancher.
Lifeboat is Carried through the Dunes, 1883, Michel Ancher
The drowned fisherman, 1893, Michael Ancher
The Skagen home of Anne and Michael Ancher was purchased by them in 1884. In 1913, a large studio annex was added to the property. Upon her death in 1964, the Ancher's daughter, Helga, left the house and all of its contents to the Helga Ancher Foundation. In 1967 the foundation turned the home into a museum. Along with the family's original furniture and paintings by the Anchers, the work of other Skagen artists are also shown in the restored home and studio.
Michael and Anna Ancher's House in Skagen, now a
museum featuring the Ancher's work and other Skagen art.
Included among them are Anna Ancher's The Harvesters (below), from 1905, and the work of her daughter, Helga Ancher, as seen in Writing Christmas Letters, (bottom) from 1924, by Helga Ancher, painted of her parents. In content, she takes after her mother. In style, her work resembles that of her father.

The Harvesters, 1905, Anna Ancher
Writing Christmas Letters, 1924, Helga
Ancher depicting her parents,
Anna and Michael Ancher


No comments:

Post a Comment