Viggo Johansen came to Skagen for the first time in 1875, persuaded to do so by Michael Ancher. The two artists had become acquainted at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen where they both attended at the beginning of the 1870s. Neither of them ever actually graduated and in 1875 Johansen finally gave up the idea of achieving his certificate and chose to spend the summer at the most northern point of Jutland.
Johansen was not particularly impressed by the surroundings, which he found rough and dreary, or by the local inhabitants in Skagen who were difficult to come into contact with.
He did, however, become almost bewitched by Anna Brøndum’s cousin, Martha Møller, to whom he became secretly engaged that same year. At that point Viggo Johansen was 24 years old and Martha Møller 14. Martha Møller and Anna Brøndum were tutored in drawing by both Viggo Johansen and the artist Karl Madsen.
Viggo Johansen made his artistic breakthrough in 1877 when he sold one of his paintings to the tobacco manufacturer Heinrich Hirschsprung in Copenhagen, but did not return to Skagen until 1880 when he and Martha Møller were married in Skagen Church. From 1887-90 the family Johansen spent the summers in Skagen Vesterby with their numerous children, but because of disagreements with the Krøyer couple the family Johansen did not come to Skagen again before the beginning of the 1900s. At that point Viggo Johansen was a respected and well renowned artist and from 1906-20, he functioned as professor at the very same institution that he never actually graduated from – the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.