Skagens Museum is home to the collection of masterpieces by members of the Scandinavian artists’ colony the Skagen painters, who were active in Skagen from the end of the 19th century.
Skagen – Home of the Skagen painters
At the end of the 19th century, Skagen was a small town of approximately 2000 inhabitants. It was difficult to get to Skagen because it had no harbour until 1907 and the railway line to the town was only completed in 1890. Despite this, it was during this period that Skagen became the centre of one of the most famous artist colonies in Scandinavia.
There are several reasons why Skagen became the gathering place for a large group of artists. It was generally the very young, less established artists who journeyed to the tip of Jutland. The first artists who came to the town at the beginning of the 1870s had met at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and recommended the town to one another. There was also an abundance of plein air motifs in Skagen, the town had a local population who were usually willing to model for a modest fee, and social and professional fellowship was also a major factor for many artists.
The artist colony in Skagen was part of an international phenomenon. Not only because artists came to the town from other countries, but also because there were artist colonies in several other places in Europe, Russia, and North America at the time. The artists’ colony in Skagen was also visited by authors, composers, musicians, singers, craftspeople, and actors, several of whom were among the most prominent cultural personalities of the era in Denmark and Scandinavia.
Skagens Museum – The legacy of the artists
Around 1900, the colony’s influence on Danish art had started to fade, but in 1908 Skagens Museum was founded in Brøndum’s dining room by the artists Michael Ancher, Peder Severin Krøyer, and Laurits Tuxen, as well as hotel proprietor Degn Brøndum and pharmacist Victor Chr. Klæbel. By the time the museum building was completed in 1928, the collection consisted of 325 works, and with the merger with the two historic house museums Anchers Hus and Drachmanns Hus in 2014, the collection now total almost 9,000 works. A selection of these works are on display at Skagens Museum.