Part 1, PS. Kroyer and Michael Ancher, Friends and Rivals, Arken Museum of Art, Denmark

After the excellent Laurits Tuxen Show that I posted previously, me and my dad went to Arken Museum of Modern Art to see the Kroyer /Ancher Show, a most excellent compliment as the 3 figures were so important to each other. Tuxen sculpted the The Two painters on their way out for a days Pleine air painting. It usually stands at the entrance of the Skagen Museum, which is closed until next year for renovations.

The K/A show centered on the relationship between the two painters, and had many letters of correspondence between the two,. It gave an excellent insight to how they thought and acted,.

Ancher became very insecure when Kroyer turned up in Skagen, and wrote so and told him. Ancher had already lived there for 6 years, having married the local innkeepers daughter, Anna Brödrum, who was also an excellent painter.  She became a full-time painter at the encouragement of Ancher, something that was quite unusual for the time. Kroyer was of another opinion, when he married the beautiful Marie, he simply told her that now it was time to give up painting and raise their child. 

Kroyer was already a famous painter by the time he came to Skagen, and he was know for his facile and fast handling and very extrovert, whilst Ancher was meticulous and slow, often spednign time by himself in his studio. Some kind of big argument happened early on between the two, I think it had to do with Ancher feeling that Kroyer was muscling in on his discovery of Skage, and he was worried that he would be swept t the wayside. Letters between the two hinted at this, but it was Ancher who wrote that they should "forget all the nasty business that happened last year, and move forwards together" and Kroyer agreed heartily. 

I have seen a few shows on the Skagen Painters and Kroyer, (all the shows are deeper down in this blog with good photos) so there were a few paintings here and there that we had already seen, but the show also contained a few sketches for them, so that was great.

The double portrait of Michael and Anna Ancher regarding a painting was done by the both of them, painting each other respectively. It really shows how much Michael respected his wife and her skills. "Judgment of a day's work "


The painting "Art Critics" where Kroyer and Tuxen are discussing an unseen painting was a large preliminary painting for this one, not in the show.

The large painting of the drowned sailor that Ancher painted was his way of paying tribute to the local people of Skagen, who often braved the sea. The painting was inspired by real life fisherman Lars Kruse, who lost his life in 1894 saving other men who had shipwrecked. Holger Drachman (the man in the hat in the painting above, "art Critics") made him famous all over Denmark by writing a novel about his bravery in 1879. It was very interesting to compare the study to the final piece, and the changes he made.