Sunday, September 21, 2014

Anna Ancher

evening prayer
oil on canvas
68 x 60 cm
location unknown

Anna Ancher (1859-1935), born in Skagen, Denmark, was considered one of Denmark's great pictorial artists. She along with her contemporaries oversaw a shift in the artistic landscape of Denmark. She enjoyed a unique artistic career, not least considering that she was a woman in an age where it was uncommon for women to get an artistic education. They were not even granted access to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

Her personal and professional life almost went hand in hand because of her marriage to a fellow painter Michael Ancher whom she met in Skagen. She became part of the Skagen Painters, a group who were dedicated to capturing the natural beauty and life of this fishing town. She painted the lives of the people of Skagen. She was indeed one of the most accomplished of the painters and left behind a lasting legacy for more reasons than one. She went against conventions and social constrains when she pursued her artistic career even after her marriage, no easy task taking in to account that she lived in a period when women, especially those who were married stayed at home and took care of household chores. She was the face of the women in a group that was pre-dominantly male.

Although an accomplished painter, she is more remembered as the chronicler of the womenfolk of Skagen. While most of the male artists tended to draw the outdoor beauty of Skagen, mostly fishermen in various chores, she set most of her paintings within four walls, that is to paint a woman in the house doing small chores like knitting or reading.