Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Viggo Johansen

Kitchen interior. The artist's wife arranging flowers
oil on canvas
64.4 x 84.7 cm
Skagens Museum, Skagen, Denmark

Viggo Johansen (1851-1935), born in Copenhagen, was a Danish painter and active member of the group of Skagen Painters who met every summer in the north of Jutland. He was one of Denmark's most prominent painters in the 1890s. Specializing particularly in genre scenes and in scenes of mealtimes, he made a successful career in the art world.

He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1868 to 1875, specializing in figure painting, at that time figure painting was regarded as the finest, but did not pass the graduation examination. He first came to Skagen in the summer of 1875 at the request of Michael Ancher (they knew each other from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts).

From 1885, he exhibited in Paris; there he was inspired by Claude Monet, particularly in his use of colour. After his return from Paris, his paintings took on lighter tones; he had noted the absence of black in the works of the French artists and considered his own earlier works too dark by comparison. Nevertheless, he is remembered particularly for the subdued lighting effects of his interiors and his scenes of domestic family life, but he also painted landscapes, still lifes and portraits.

From 1888 to 1906, he taught at the Artists Academy's School for Women. He then became a professor there until 1920 and, for a time, was one of its directors. His works today are exhibited in many museums around the world, but it is particularly well known in Scandinavia and in the country of his birth, Denmark.