Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kroyer's Tranquil Denmark

Denmark has been an essentially tranquil place since Lord Nelson turned his blind eye to his commander's signal flags and devastated the Danish fleet at Copenhagen. Even the German invasion of April, 1940 was nearly bloodless.

So too was the work of one of Denmark's most famous painters, Peder Severin Krøyer (1851-1909). His Wikipedia entry notes that he was born in Norway to an unstable women and a nameless father, dying in Copenhagen aged 58 of the effects of syphilis after becoming largely blind. Perhaps that disease coupled with his own unstable personality drove his beautiful, talented wife Marie into the arms of another man and divorce from the painter. Although Denmark may be tranquil, it seems not all Danish lives follow suit.

Nevertheless, Krøyer's subjects centered on portraits, beach scenes and social get-togethers of various kinds, often set in Skagen, an artist summer colony town at the northern tip of the Jutland peninsula in mainland Denmark.

I find Krøyer's paintings skilfully done and pleasant. They don't interest me much beyond that, but perhaps you might like some of them; take a look at this sampling.


Sommeraften på Skagen Sønderstand - Summer evening on the Skagen beach - 1895
This is perhaps Krøyer's most famous work.

Hip, hip, hurra!
This is a study for the 1888 painting.

Danish bar interior

Ved frokosten. Kunstneren og hans hustru med forfatteren Otto Benzon. Skagen. Peder and Marie lunching with Otto Benzon, Skagen
Marie was the subject of a number of paintings while the marriage was going well. She also appeared as a member of the cast of social scenes, as can be seen here.

Photo of Peder and Marie Krøyer
I include this so that you can judge how well Krøyer was able to capture Marie.

Marie Krøyer - 1889

Marie Krøyer - 1890

Sommeraften ved Skagen - Marie in Skagen, summer evening


dearieme said...

Which would you like to hang on your wall, Don? For me it would be the two beach ones.

Donald Pittenger said...

dearieme -- I don't dislike Kroyer's work, but I don't like it to the point that I'd want it on one of my walls. That said, I too would select a beach scene if I had to hang one of his paintings.