In 1929, the Swedish painter Oscar Björck described his friend, Anna Ancher (1859–1935) in the following terms in a letter to museum director Karl Madsen: “Anna Ancher has my sincere admiration, both as a person and as an artist. She is like a burst of sunshine, and her paintings have something that no-one else among us possess to any similar degree: a quiet devotion to the task and a palette so succulent and luscious that you savor it like ripe fruit”.
Today, Anna Ancher is still celebrated for her boundary-breaking use of color and her astounding ability to capture a ray of sunlight. But her reach extends far beyond that. Opening on February 8, 2020, SMK will take a fresh look at Anna Ancher’s work in a major retrospective produced in close collaboration with the Art Museums of Skagen. The exhibition will seek to lift Anna Ancher out of Skagen, unshackling her from her ties to the artist’s colony in order to place her within the wider – international – context her art merits.
Anna Brøndum was born in 1859, the daughter of Ane and Erik Brøndum, who owned Brøndum’s inn in Skagen. In this most remote of all corners of Denmark, which was not connected to the railway grid until 1890, Anna Brøndum became acquainted with young artists and writers from a young age when they visited her parents’ inn and, later, hotel. Major figures of the Modern Breakthrough in Denmark, such as Michael Ancher, Holger Drachmann, Georg Brandes and Agnes Henningsen all sought out Skagen to be part of the progressive community of artists and writers gathering there. Her interest in drawing and painting, nurtured ever since she was a child, was encouraged by several artists – one of whom was her future husband, Michael Ancher.