Michael Ancher

and the women from Skagen

The exhibition, ‘Michael Ancher and the women of Skagen’ focuses on Michael Ancher’s many portraits of women, which constitute a large, but overlooked group of motifs in his oeuvre.

21 April 2018 – 26 August 2018 | Skagens Museum

As was the case in the artist’s own lifetime, Ancher is best known today for his portrayals of the hardworking fishermen of Skagen. These fishermen were also a recurrent and favoured choice of motif throughout Ancher’s artistic life, but alongside these depictions of fishermen,  he also explored a different set of motifs that was a world apart.

As motifs, Ancher’s depictions of women differ from his images of fishermen, but just as he paid tribute to the heroic fishermen in monumental works, he also created a monument for a particular woman: his wife, Anna Ancher, whom he portrayed in life-size formats. In the series of the many other studies of women in his works, we can see traces of something different and new. Here, the artist cultivates both the character portrait, the intimate, private and introverted as well as a lighter palette than he is known for in his fishermen pictures.

In the exhibition, a series of studies, sketches and finished works highlight the thoughts and developments that Ancher underwent both in relation to the individual works as well as artistically. It is often in the studies that one can really see an expression of his experimentation with ideas.

The exhibition is arranged in thematic sections, which highlight various aspects of Ancher’s depictions of women. Ancher’s motifs are wide-ranging, also with regard to depictions of women. Nevertheless, a series of themes emerge in the artist’s works, in which his wife, Anna Ancher was a favourite model, with his daughter, Helga and Anna’s mother, Ane Brøndum also frequently portrayed. He also worked at times with several conceptual themes with women as models, e.g. Skagen Girl, the bourgeoisie and the wives of the local fishermen. These are the themes that the exhibition focuses on.

The exhibition is a collaboration with The Hirschsprung Collection and Ribe Kunstmuseum.