Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 55

MICHAEL ANCHER
   ‒    
 .
Sketch for “Taking the Lifeboat Through the Dunes,”

(Skitse til “Redningsbåden køres gennem klitterne”)
Oil on canvas,

x
¾
in. (

x

cm)
Signed with initials lower left: M.A.
       :
Arne Bruun Rasmussen, Auction

,

, lot

, ill. p.

(described as
: Redningsbåden går ud i snestorm
).
         :
Elisabeth Fabritius in: Elisabeth Fabritius (ed.),
Skagensmaleren Michael Ancher

.juni-

,
exhibition cata-
logue Michael og Anna Anchers Hus
,
Skagens Museum,

(on the composition); Elisabeth Fabritius,
Michael Ancher og det
moderne gennembrud


,
Skagen

, chapter II.
; this painting ill. p.

, oeuvre no.

; Patricia G. Berman,
In Another Light,
Danish Painting in the Nineteenth Century
, New York

, ill. p.

.
T
his compositional sketch is very close to the
fi
nished painting, which measures
⅔
x
¼
ft. (

x

cm). It was purchased by Nationalgalleriet (subse-
quently Statens Museum for Kunst), Copenhagen, (Fig.
A) at the Charlottenborg exhibition

, where Ancher
had enjoyed a success. The painting portrays the Skagen
lifeboat crew on their way out towards the shore with
the huge boat which in Ancher’s day was rowed out to
shipwrecked sailors by a large lifeboat crew. It is winter;
the snow is lying on the dunes with their withered, yel-
low lyme grass; the sky is leaden and grey. Two major
wrecks occurred at the end of

, and these may have
inspired Ancher to choose this particular motif. The
Skagens Museum owns an

sketch of dunes in snow.
Ever since his arrival in Skagen in

, Michael
Ancher was fascinated by the drama of the frequent life-
saving actions; he warmly admired the heroism the
fi
sh-
ermen demonstrated time after time by risking their lives. Sometimes they succeeded in their rescue e
ff
orts,
though at other times drowning was the result both for themselves and those who had su
ff
ered shipwreck.
Between

and

, Ancher created an epic series of large-scale, carefully composed paintings depicting
the stages of a rescue operation, culminating in a gigantic work,
The Drowned Man,

(Statens Museum
for Kunst). These large-scale paintings are highly realistic, but in their harmonies they are at the same time
deeply rooted in the Western European painting tradition and thus representative of the renewal of Dan-
ish
fi
gure art which was Michael Ancher’s contribution to the Modern Breakthrough of the

’s.
In this sketch, Ancher has experimented to see whether the motif could be achieved in a snowstorm.
E.F.
[

FIG. A
Michael Ancher
Taking the Lifeboat Through the Dunes,

⅔
x
¼
ft. (

x

cm). Statens Museum for Kunst
Two major shipwrecks at the end of

might have inspired
Ancher to choose winter for this motif. In November

he
made a painting of snow-covered dunes with withered lyme
grass beneath a leaden sky. There is inspiration from the art of
the Renaissance and the Baroque behind the composition of the
fi
nished painting, which nevertheless has a very realistic e
ff
ect.
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