Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 57

[

         :
Hanne Westergaard in
:

-erne i nordisk kunst,
Copenhagen

, exhibition catalogue Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo,
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Amos Anderssons Konstmuseum, Helsinki, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, pp.


(on the motif ); Peter Nisbet,
Danish Paintings of the Nineteenth Century from the Collection of Ambassador John Loeb, Jr.,
Busch-
Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts,

, ill. and discussed p.

; Elisabeth Fabritius,
Michael
Ancher og det Moderne Gennembrud


,
Skagen

, no.

, discussion chapter IV.
.
T
his sketch is very close to the
fi
nished painting, one of the artist’s most important works.
The Girl with
the Sun
fl
owers
,
⅓
x
ft. (

x

cm), painted in

(Fig. A), was purchased by Statens Museum for
Kunst in

after the artist’s death.
A young girl standing with a copper vessel
fi
lled with sun
fl
owers is a simple everyday motif, which the
artist has made monumental by means of the arrangement and grouping within the framework of the pic-
ture. The girl is standing indirectly illuminated on the threshold between two rooms. Behind her, from the
darkness inside, there is a glimpse of the garden, bathed in
fi
erce sunlight. Warm, golden brown colours
dominate the picture and form a powerful contrast to the window and the conspicuously bright shades of
blue in the sheer curtains.
Michael Ancher was a great admirer of the Dutch painters from the Golden Age of Dutch Painting,
Pieter de Hooch (


) and Vermeer van Delft (


), a debt to the

th century he gladly
acknowledged. The fact that here, for the
fi
rst time, he allowed one shade of colour to dominate is
undoubtedly due to familiarity with the colour harmonies of James McNeill Whistler (


).
The artist had long left his youth behind when he
fi
rst went on a short visit to Paris in

. He was not
able to have a prolonged study-visit there until

, when he and Anna Ancher spent six months. That year
Paris was hosting the great world fair. Here they made a much closer acquaintance with French art as a
result of the retrospective special exhibition of

years
of French art, and they supplemented this with studies in
the Louvre. They also saw the Danish section, in which
they themselves were exhibiting, as well as the exhibitions
of art from many other countries. There was ample
opportunity for discussions with their many artist friends
who were also in Paris, and to make new acquaintances.
The Girl with the Sun
fl
owers
was painted during the
summer afterwards, when Ancher had returned home to
Skagen
fi
lled with new impressions. The girl in the paint-
ing is Maren Brems, the family maid. The
fl
owers grew in
Brøndum family’s old garden, close to the old garden
house, Michael and Anna’s
fi
rst home. The art historian
Hanne Westergaard has suggested that the artist’s interest
in sun
fl
owers might be related to van Gogh (


),
who during these same years was painting sequences of
this spectacular
fl
ower, and with whom a few Danish
painters had connections. E.F.
FIG. A
Michael Ancher
The Girl with the Sunflowers,

(Pigen med solsikkerne)
Oil on canvas,
⅓
x
ft. (

x

cm), Statens Museum for
Kunst. There is a second version of the motif in the Michael
and Anna Ancher House, now a museum in Skagen.
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