COPENHAGEN.-For the first time a museum is focusing on the contrast between the Skagen painters portrayal of their own artist life and the working life of the local fishermen respectively. The exhibition explodes the myth of the Skagen painters as testimonies of the time they portrayed.
The Skagen painters are significant in the Danish and Scandinavian cultural heritage. Reproductions of the familiar paintings adorn countless Danish homes and are considered by many as authentic testimonies of the life and beauty of bygone days. In many ways, this was also how the Skagen painters regarded themselves and their charge as artists.
However, ARKENs exhibition THE SKAGEN PAINTERS In a New Light emphasizes the paradox that although devoutly wishing to be attestants, the painters handpicked their subject matter around them: In self-portraits with champagne and elegant attire they increased their social status as free, partying bohemians. The fishermen were presented as their opposites: Brave, strong heroes of the everyday original people in harmony with nature, far from the modern metropolis. This is the first time that a museum questions the Skagen painters as attestants by thus juxtaposing the two spheres.
Hip, Hip, Hurra! - In 2005 Hip, Hip, Hurra! Artists Party (1888) was voted top favourite in an art canon by the readers of the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende. The painting usually hangs in the Göteborg Museum of Art but now it is returning to Denmark for the ARKEN exhibition.
A toast to absent friends even if the jolly artists in P.S. Krøyers magnificent painting all seem to be present and look a very close-knit group. What is absent from the high cultural community, rather, is the harsh life of the fishermen. The picture looks like a snapshot but is a meticulously staged monument over the artist colonys community, and the result of four years of work. A telling testimony to how the Skagen painters depicted themselves and their friends.
Festive cartoons by Krøyer exhibited for the first time - The exhibition presents 97 works by the famed artists, including seven newly restored festive cartoons by P.S. Krøyer which have never before been on display. A genuine Skagen song, written in connection with the cartoons, will also be produced.
More than half of the exhibited works are privately held, many abroad, but are now available to the public for a while. The artists include the greatest of the Skagen painters: Anna and Michael Ancher, P.S. Krøyer, Christian Krohg, Oscar Björck, Laurits Tuxen, Viggo Johansen and Carl Locher.
A fully illustrated 104 pages catalogue in Danish and English will be produced for the exhibition.