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The Skagen Painters of North Jutland

Photo: Turisthus Nord

Art inspired by the nature around Skagen, the unique light and the unspoiled simple life, that is what the painters of Skagen in North Jutland were all about. This is where they found their ultimate inspiration for the beautiful paintings. But where can you see their works of art?

At the end of the 19th century, Skagen was cut off from the rest of Denmark, as it was really hard to reach the town without the railway, so you had to take a horse from Frederikshavn and because there was no harbour, the ships had to sail further out on the west coast, despite the wild waves which made it dangerous to reach the land.

The old fishing village in Skagen inhabited about 2000 citizens who lived a simple and hard life. The fishing village is near Grenen, where Skagerrak and Kattegat are meeting, which is responsible for the rough weather and currents. Despite it, one of the most beautiful natures of Denmark can be found here which inspired the artists to transform the world of art.

The rumour about this beautiful place in North Denmark spread and the light and the nature was all it took for the artist colony in Skagen to establish and to revolutionize Danish art history.

 

Photo:Mette Johnsen

Photo:Mette Johnsen

Why Skagen?

Cultural personalities like Steen Steensen Blicher, Vilhelm Kyhn and H. C. Andersen, all sought to visit the area around Skagen in the middel of the 19th century. In 1859 H.C. Andersen stayed at the only hotel in Skagen, at the time, Brøndums Hotel - inspired by the nature Skagens he wrote: "Are you a painter, follow is north. Here you will find motives for you. A scene for poetry. Here in the Danish country, you will find a nature that reminds you of the desert in Africa, of the ash mounts of Pompei and of birds flying around the dunes by the sea."

Photo:Toppen af Danmark

The artist collective in Skagen

Many French artists have created artist collectives throughout France, and students from the art academy in Copenhagen were told to go there and experience and paint the world. That is why many Danish artists visited the French communities where they got inspired by the community and the landscapes. 

At the start of the 1870s, many young non-famous artists travelled the long and difficult road towards Skagen. Most were educated at the Art Academy of Copenhagen and they were quick to find companionship in their colleagues. Many of the artists were nomads and did not want to settle down, therefore a colony was perfect for them. 

Surrounded by beautiful nature and harsh wind conditions the artist settled down in the heart of Skagen. Here they found inspiration in each other, the nature and in the fishermen's rough and dangerous life. The colony was visited by painters, musicians, composers, poets and writers. 

Facaden af Brøndums Hotel hvor gæster nyder solen
Brøndums Hotel

The Headquarter of the Colony

Today you will find several beach hotels in North Jutland, but before 1884 Skagen only had one hotel, Brøndums Hotel. The hotel was the perfect place for the artist, it was cheap and had an inn. Furthermore, the hotel helped to find models for the painters in exchange for a small fee.

 

Skagensmuseum
Mette Johnsen

The Faces of the Skagen Painters

The colony became even more prominent when painter P.S. Krøyer joined in 1882 and started to organise activities for all the artists. It was Krøyer's idea to decorate Brøndums Hotel's dining-hall with paintings and portraits of the artists. After this, the hotel accepted paintings as a part payment for their stay.

 

The influence of the Skagen Painters

The artists’ colony became known as the Skagen painters. With artists like P. S. Krøyer, Anna and Michael Ancher, Holger Drachmann, Carl Locher and Laurits Tuxen, the group of Skagen painters were early advocates of modern painting in Scandinavia, in opposition to academic painting and the Danish Golden Age tradition. Their realistic open-air paintings and depictions of the daily life made the artist group a pivot for the latest trends in art.

The era of the Skagen Painters is considered as an important chapter in Danish art history. 

Experience the art

More than 100 years after the glory of the painters of Skagen, their work of arts are some of the most significant and characteristic ones of Danish history - and you can see them in many places in Skagen.

In Skagen Museum you can experience Brøndum Hotels dining room and the belonging works of art, which were moved to the museum in 1946. Nowadays, you can experience the atmosphere of the dining room, admire the portraits and explore the other 81 works of art which are exhibited in the hall. In the museum you will find masterpieces of the Skagen painters together with works from the art museums of Skagen’s vast collections.

Skagen Museum

Skagens Museum

Photo: Toppen af Danmark

The legacy of the Skagen Painters

List
Map
Anchers Hus og Saxilds Gaard
Photo: Skagens Kunstmuseer

Anchers Hus og Saxilds Gaard

Anchers Hus on Markvej where the home for two of the most prominent painters in Skagen, Anna and Michael Ancher.

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Brøndums Hotel
Photo: Peter Jørgensen

Brøndums Hotel

Denmark´s northernmost hotel with the unique history and lying next to Skagens Museum.

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Drachmanns Grav
Photo: Destination NORD

Drachmanns Grav

When Holger Drachmann died in 1908, his urn was intered in the northernmost dunes of Skagen.

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Drachmanns Hus
Photo: Skagens Kunstmuseer

Drachmanns Hus

Drachmanns Hus is a house and studio museum dedicated to the poet and painter Holger Drachmann. 

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Skagens Museum
Photo: Destination NORD

Skagens Museum

Skagen’s Museum is an internationally reputable museum dedicated to the painters of Skagen, the artist colony with painters such as Krøyer, Anna & Michael Ancher, Tuxen and others, who settled in Skag...

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Glaspuster i Lønstrup
Art and Culture in North Jutland
Musikkens hus Aalborg
The House of Music
Kunsten Aalborg
Kunsten - Museum of Modern Art
Utzon Centeret
Top 10 architecture in North Jutland

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