In the first of these two days spent with painters in Skagen, at the northern tip of Jutland, I looked at the work of Anna Ancher, her husband Michael, and Christian Krohg. Today it’s the turn of PS Krøyer, Laurits Tuxen and a British visitor, Adrian Stokes.
Peder Severin Krøyer
Born in Stavanger, Norway, he was fostered by his aunt and uncle in Copenhagen. A precocious artist, he completed studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in 1870, at the age of just 19. In 1874 he sold his first painting to the Hirschsprung family, establishing a long relationship with them as patrons.
From 1877 he travelled widely in Europe, studying under Léon Bonnat in Paris and seeing Impressionist paintings there. He visited Spain in 1878 to study the works of Velázquez, and visited Pont-Aven and other artists colonies in Brittany. He exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1879 and some subsequent years in the 1880s. He returned to Denmark in 1882, and spent his first summer in Skagen, concentrating on painting fishing and marine motifs.
Over the winters he painted commissioned portraits in Copenhagen, and continued to travel. He purchased his first camera in 1885, and started using that to record scenes for later painting. When in Paris in 1888 he met Marie Triepcke, a very talented German painter who went on to open new possibilities for women in art, and they married the following year.
By about 1900 his eyesight began to fail noticeably, but he continued to paint almost to the end, dying in 1909.
Laurits Regner Tuxen
Brought up in Copenhagen, he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Art alongside PS Krøyer. He first visited Skagen in 1870, and returned on many subsequent summers. He also travelled widely through Europe painting commissioned portraits, including those of royal families such as Christian IX of Denmark, Queen Victoria, and Czar Nicholas II. In 1875 he went to Paris to study under Léon Bonnat, a couple of years before PS Krøyer did.
He was the first head of the Artists Free Study School, intended as an alternative to the Royal Danish Academy, in the 1880s, when he also spent considerable periods in Paris. His first wife died of tuberculosis, and he married Frederikke Treschow in 1901 (see her portrait by PS Krøyer above). Together they purchased a summer residence in Skagen. He was also an accomplished sculptor.
Tuxen’s The Drowned Man is Brought Ashore from 1913 was painted between the loss of the Titanic in 1912, and the start the First World War, with its huge toll of drowned men, women, and children.
Tuxen died in 1927.
Adrian Stokes was born in Southport, Lancashire, and trained at the Royal Academy Schools in London from 1872. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1876, when he went to France, visited the Pont-Aven artists’ colony in Brittany, and was influenced by Jules Bastien-Lepage. In 1884, he married Marianne Preindlsberger, and in the summers of 1885 and 1886 the couple painted in Skagen, where they became close friends of the Anchers.
Hunters on the Moor, North of Skagen (1886) shows a pair of hunters in the flat wetlands to the north of the village of Skagen, capturing the sky, light on the water, and the seemingly endless flatness of the land.
The range of works illustrated in Berman’s book and the websites listed below is substantial, and as a group these must be some of the finest impressionist paintings outside the central French group. These works are rich in light and colour, strongly evocative of one of the most successful artists colonies of the nineteenth century, and include some of the most lyrical paintings of the century.
The best opportunity to see them is in the large collection of the Art Museums of Skagen; thankfully there have been several substantial exhibitions in Danish and other Nordic galleries, but few outside the region.
Art Museums of Skagen
Berman PG (2007) In Another Light. Danish Painting in the Nineteenth Century, Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978 0 500 23844 8.