Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 59

MICHAEL ANCHER
   ‒    
.
Potato Harvest,

(Karto
ff
elhøst)
Oil on canvas,
½
x
½
in. (

x

cm)
Signed and dated lower right: Michael Ancher

       :
Arne Bruun Rasmussen, Auction

,

, lot

, ill. p.
.
         :
Probably Charlottenborg

, no.

; 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.
.
I
n former times, the population of Skagen was obliged to live primarily on the
fi
sh they caught. The sandy
moorland stretches around the town were suitable only for grazing cattle, and agriculture was limited. An
exception was the undemanding potato, which grows well in just this sort of sandy soil.
Here Ancher gives a detailed pictorial description of the right conditions for potato growing. The
brown moorland vegetation takes up most of the painting, while the spot where the potatoes are being dug
up is almost pure sand, grey and cold.
After the

’s, an increasing number of moorland pictures make an appearance in Ancher’s oeuvre,
often, as here, populated by people at work in dramatic sunset light. Some of his moorland pictures appear
to have a Symbolist character, for instance the

painting,
Young Harvester Returning Home from the Out
fi
eld
,
(carrying a scythe over his shoulder), in Statens Museum for Kunst. They can be seen as examples of
Ancher’s lifelong inspiration from such French painters as J.F. Millet (


) and Jules Breton (


).
E.F.
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
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