In the breakers blue – Willumsen and the bathing children
22.04 – 21.08 2016 | Skagens Museum
The summer exhibition focuses on two large Nordic masterpieces by J.F. Willumsen (1863-1958): Children Bathing at Skagen Beach from 1909 and Sun and Youth from 1910. Over a period of eight years, from 1902 to 1910, Willumsen worked at gathering inspiration and materials for executing a large painting with children and youths playing on the beach. The entire working process can be followed through his comprehensive sketch materials, where he worked with a variety of figure compositions, experimented with setting the scene of the landscape and the inclusion of different materials and techniques. At the exhibition, the two monumental masterpieces, which are both almost three metres tall and over four metres wide, will be shown next to each other. A large collection of sketch materials will also be on exhibit, of which a major part belongs to the The Victor Petersen’s Willumsen Collection at the Manor House Odden. In addition to the history of the creation of the pictures and the working process, there will also be a focus on other themes in the exhibition. Motifs and methods of painting will be analysed in an art historical context, and illustrated through the loan of significant beach pictures of other Skagen painters, such as P.S. Krøyer and Laurits Tuxen. The exhibition will also take a closer look at the motifs in a historical context with a focus on tourism and life on the beach, and finally it will highlight how the pictures influenced our view of a healthy and natural life and by extension our body ideals and our attitudes to nudity.
The exhibition was created in collaboration with the J.F. Willumsen Museum in Frederikssund.