What is friendship?
Sea spray, gleaming sunshine and two painters in the same place. ARKEN’s exhibition will focus on the relationship between Michael Ancher and P.S. Krøyer, the meticulous toiler and the virtuous child prodigy. From 93 of their best-known paintings from Skagen and from the many letters they sent to each other, we gain an insight into the battles, discussions and unbreakable friendship of these two artists. Ancher and Krøyer helped, inspired and respected one another. Each honed his attitudes in the encounter with the other, and their competition was fruitful. Ancher and Krøyer were among the key artists in the modern breakthrough of Danish art, and today their works are well-known national treasures. The exhibition adds new insight into the painters’ friendship, working process and self-understanding.
Dear Krøyer, dear Ancher!
Ancher and Krøyer corresponded regularly for 27 years – about art and life in general. Their clever, honest and humorous letters are a main theme in the exhibition. Some of the more important ones are displayed, and in ARKEN's Film Auditorium and at the exhibition's listening posts, you can hear actors Preben Kristensen as Krøyer and Michael Moritzen as Ancher read selected passages from the letters. To receive an actual physical letter still feels like a gift – and in the exhibition’s writing corner, you can write and post your own letter. Just bring the address!
Michael Ancher was a permanent resident in Skagen, and married Anna, the local innkeeper’s daughter. Krøyer arrived in town eight years after Ancher and later married the fashionable Marie Triepcke. It was Ancher’s fishing painting that lured Krøyer to Skagen, and it was Krøyer’s pictures of summer light and artists’ parties that rubbed off on Ancher's scenes.
Man of the world Krøyer strived for an artistic community, where inspiration could flow freely and sceneries could be shared among colleagues under an open sky. But the down-to-earth and particular Ancher preferred painting alone, and initially felt threatened by Krøyer’s fast brush strokes and effervescent creativity.
They both enjoyed painting in the great outdoors in Skagen, with all the challenges this brought. Grains of sand are a common feature of the paint in their paintings, which exude sun, wind and fresh air. But even though Ancher and Krøyer often painted the same scenes, they viewed them differently. Krøyer liked diagonals and surprising crops. Ancher’s paintings are more monumental.
Copy and original meetIn the summer of 1897, Ancher couldn’t help himself from painting a copy of one of Krøyer’s works. It was the draft of the famous picture of the two artists’ wives, Anna Ancher and Marie Krøyer, walking in the surf with their backs to the artist. As a scoop in the exhibition, these two versions get to meet – Krøyer’s draft and Ancher’s copy – for the first time in 117 years. Here we can directly compare the two artists' brush strokes in two identical scenes.
In conjunction with Post Danmark and the Post-a-Letter Association, ARKEN will be hosting writing events on the first Wednesday of the month from 17.00-20.00. Postage will be covered by Post Danmark – just remember the address!
The Works above are on loan from Skagens Museum. Krøyer's work is owned by Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen. Deposited at Skagens Museum. Photo: Skagens Museum
Elegant arabesques, delicate, tender lines, dynamic colours and lush forms. Most Danes know the fanciful faces and distinctive ornamentation of Bjørn Wiinblad from his popular decorative plates and his amazing illustrations for One Thousand and One Nights. There are plenty of memories from Danish dining rooms, but they do not stand alone: today, interest in Wiinblad’s unique and highly recognizable line with an Oriental décor touch is growing exponentially. Wiinblad’s aesthetics are is undergoing a revival.
In autumn 2015, ARKEN is presenting an extensive exhibition of the whimsical world of Wiinblad in ceramics, china, posters, illustrations, sculptures, set designs, costumes and more. Ranging far and wide, the exhibition presents a multifaceted picture of the artist’s development, his sources of inspiration and his unique sense of craft, décor and design.
Wiinblad’s style is shot through with unbridled lust for life, spirit and optimism. Not only is Wiinblad a household name in Denmark, he is known the world over, from Germany and the United States to the Middle East and Asia. The exhibition also illuminates his international breakthrough.