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The Skagen painters
At the end of the 19th century, Skagen became the centre of one of the most famous artists’ colonies in Europe, known as the Skagen painters. In the beginning it was generally the very young, less established artists who journeyed to the tip of Jutland peninsula in Denmark. The first artists who came to the town at the beginning of the 1870s had met at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen and recommended the town to one another. In Skagen, there was an abundance of plein air motifs, the town had a local population who were usually willing to model for a modest fee, and social and professional fellowship was also a major factor for many artists.
The artists’ colony in Skagen was part of an international phenomenon. Artists came to Skagen from other countries and there were artists’ colonies in several other places in Europe, Russia, North America and Australia at the time. The artists’ colony in Skagen was also visited by authors, composers, musicians, singers, craftspeople, and actors, several of whom were among the most prominent cultural personalities of the era in Denmark and Scandinavia.
One museum – three locations
Skagens Kunstmuseer | Art Museums of Skagen is one museum with three locations in Skagen – all dedicated to the Skagen painters.
At the end of 2014, the art museum Skagens Museum and the two house and studio museums Anchers Hus and Drachmanns Hus merged and adopted the name Skagens Kunstmuseer | Art Museums of Skagen. The museum has a collection of more than 9,000 artworks by members of the Scandinavian artists’ colony – the Skagen painters – who lived and worked in the fishing village of Skagen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In 1908 Skagens Museum was founded by the artists Michael Ancher, Peder Severin Krøyer, and Laurits Tuxen, as well as hotel proprietor Degn Brøndum and pharmacist Victor Chr. Klæbel. The present museum building was completed in 1928 by architect Ulrik Plesner. The museum has been enlarged several times, most recently in 2014-2016 when a new wing was added. The Plesner Galleries are home to the collections, while the new Skifer wing contains temporary exhibitions.
The house and studio museum Anchers Hus was the home of two of the most well-known figures among the Skagen painter, the artists couple Anna Ancher and Michael Ancher. The Anchers and their daughter Helga Ancher moved into the house on Markvej 2 in the spring of 1884.The house has been preserved as it was when Anna Ancher died in 1935 and is home to a large collection of paintings.
Author-painter Holger Drachmann was one the most talked about figures in Scandinavia in the last quarter of the 19th century and one of the first artists to arrive in Skagen. His cottage, Drachmanns Hus still looks very much like it did at the time when he lived there from 1902-08. It has been a museum since 1911 and contains a collection of painting, drawings and period furniture.