In the end of February my friend, Iris and I visit “Arken”, the Museum of Modern Art in Ishøj, Denmark. It’s a bit of a train journey to get there – it takes about 2 hours and change of train need at Copenhagen Central Station.
It was in December 2014 that we last visited. Located just by the ocean with sandy beaches, it’s a bit to walk from the station – last year we walked, but this time we were a bit cleverer and took the bus.
This time was it the two Danish painters Michal Ancher and P.S. Krøyer, that was our goal for the day. P.S. Krøyer is the man behind my summer header, “Summer Evening on the Skagen Southern Beach” from 1893. My absolute favourite painting
Peder Severin Krøyer (1851 – 1909), known as P. S. Krøyer, was a Danish painter. He is one of the best known and beloved, and undeniably the most colorful of the Skagen Painters, a community of Danish and Nordic artists who lived, gathered or worked in Skagen, Denmark, especially during the final decades of the 19th century. Krøyer was the unofficial leader of the group.
Michael Peter Ancher (1849 – 1927) was a Danish impressionist artist. He is remembered above all for his paintings of fishermen and other scenes from the Danish port of Skagen. He is probably one of Denmark’s most popular artists.
Ancher and Krøyer were very good friends and their wives, Anna and Maria, was often painted together like in my header image, by Krøyer. But in the art world they were much rivals. Thereis quite a few paintings that they both has copied each others motives in. Ancher has done his version of the “afternoon on the beach” and Krøyer did his versions of the fishermen’s lives.
Skagen, occasionally known in English as The Scaw, is Denmark’s northernmost town and the area surrounding it. Skagen isconsidered the boundary between the oceans of Skagerrak (named after Skagen) and the Kattegat – which creates an amazing light that attracts painters, as if the sea and the sky had conspired to converge with the earth right there and then.
A light that you also can find in Dieppe, France and St Yves in Cornwall, UK. Light shades of blue, pink and lilac.
Now back to the exhibition – as we arrived it was high time for lunch and we went straight to the restaurant with both great view and food.
I went for excellent fish cakes and Iris had a massive open sandwich with thin sliced smoked pork loin. We only meet up once per month, so there was a lot of talking and suddenly we realized that we need to give the exhibition some attention too before it was time to return to the station.
Most of the painting was on loan from Skagen Museum and there wasn’t one that I didn’t want to bring with me home. Acher his painting was mostly about the fishermen’s hard life and Krøyer had beautiful ladies and children in focus, very much like our two Swedish painters; Anders Zorn and Carl Larsson for the same area of time.
There is was my favorite painting of all time, the ladies on the beach and I was filled with so much humbleness when I was standing in front of it – even being able to touch it if I wanted to. A feeling I never had before for a painting, not even Monet. Maybe was because I could see myself living in their world in Skagen and be wearing dresses like them.
But I fell deeply in love with another of his painting, Roses – which he painted in 1890 with his beautiful wife, Maria sitting reading in their garden. So this summer I will use that painting as my header. The most beautiful painting I ever seen.
And as the grand finale they showed “Hansblus på Skagen strand” by Krøyer (1906) – a painting were his friends and family is gather around a bonfire on the beach, painted with a broken heart. At that time his wife, Maria, had an affair since a couple of years with the Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén. In the painting she looks very happy standing very close to him. A very dramatic painting in more than one way.
Maria was also a painter, but her works was first acknowledge after her death– she married Hugo Alfvén in 1912, but divorced in 1936 and lived in Sweden to her death in 1940.
There was still some exhibitions going on from our last visit – like the beautiful Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads (2010), by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwe. My zodiac is the rat.
Also a new show, Between Towers by art duo Randi and Katrine, a very fascinating exhibition.
Randi Jørgensen (1974) and Katrine Malinovsky (1976) that have been worked together since 2004. Two Danish artists that created eleven transformer towers in different shapes and sizes have invaded the biggest and most dramatic room at ARKEN. The towers are connected by electric cables and appear like mysterious people.
Skagen is Denmark’s sunniest town with an average of 233 hours of sunshine in the holiday month of July. This year will I visit Skagen for 3 nights in the end of June with my friend, Ytte.
My first visit, I never visit when I lived only a ferry journey away, in Gothenburg. I will expect loads of sun, ocean, sand, fresh seafood, chilled white wine, art and some of that magical light.
“Since our trip to Paris, my perception of art has changed.
It has improved and improved me too,
to the point I could no longer insult my best friend.
Instead I want to hold on to him with both hands.”
(Ancher to Krøyer)
Of course Hugo Alfvén’s most famous piece has to hang over this post – his Swedish Rhapsody No.1 – written in 1903.