Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 50

ANNA ANCHER
  ‒    
 .
On the Way to Church,
c.

(På vej til kirke)
Oil on canvas,

x
½
in. (

x

cm)
Signed lower right: A. Ancher
       :
Bruun Rasmussen, Auction

,

, lot

, ill.
         :
Charlottenborg Efteraarsudstilling,
Anna Ancher, Mindeophængning
,

, no.

(described as:
Paa Vej til Kirke,
c.

); Bruce Museum of Art and Science, Greenwich, Connecticut and The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College,
New York,
Danish Paintings of the Nineteenth Century from the Collection of Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr.
,

, no.

, ill.; Scandinavia
House, New York,
Danish Paintings from the Golden Age to the Modern Breakthrough, Selections from the Collection of Ambassador John
L. Loeb Jr.
,

, no.
.
         :
Patricia G. Berman, “Lines of Solitude, Circles of Alliance, Danish Painting in the Nineteenth Century” in:
Danish Paintings of the Nineteenth Century from the Collection of Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr.
, Bruce Museum

, p.

.
T
he motif in this painting is of three women from Skagen walking to church on a sunlit road in Skagen
Østerby late in the day. There are suggestions of rapid movement as they approach the painter, side by
side, clothed almost identically in dark dresses, long skirts, shawls and cloaks, with white scarves around
their heads. They thus form a strong contrast to the dazzling light colours seen on the road, the houses, the
dunes and the sky, where pink, light blue and light green are dominant.
The countless shades of colour found in the farthest outskirts of Østerby at Skagen where the town
borders on the vast stretches of heath leading to Grenen, often tempted Anna Ancher in the latter part of
her life. From about

she painted numerous studies and more carefully
fi
nished pictures without
fi
gures
on the sandy tracks out there.
In the

’s, modern dress was not yet common among the older women of the humble folk, but the
three in Anna Ancher’s painting are dressed in such a conservative manner that it must be assumed they
belonged to Indre Mission. This strict, almost pietistic Christian persuasion had from the

’s become very
widespread in Denmark, especially in the poorer areas far from Copenhagen. In Skagen, where the people
were so often faced with death at sea, the movement gained many adherents, and the town was, in a way,
divided into two camps. Anna Ancher knew Indre Mission at close quarters because her mother and sisters
were deeply committed to the movement. In

she painted a large picture of many
fi
gures listening to a
lay preacher as he addressed the people of Skagen sitting in the lee of a high dune,
Et missionsmøde (A Field
Sermon)
, in the Skagens Museum.
Anna Ancher was to all appearances a woman with a religious faith, but at the same time she associated
with a group of freethinkers. Otherwise, she would never have thought of painting the grotesque contrast
between the approaching women in their somber dress and the wealth of colour in the calm, sun-drenched
landscape.
E.F.

]
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