Artist House, Skagen painters Michael and Anna Ancher

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ancher painting

Danish painter Michael Peter Ancher (1849 - 1927) was born on the island of Bornholm. He joined the growing society of artists in Skagen in 1874, known as 'The Skagen Painters'.

In 1880 he married the painter Anna Brøndum and settled permanently in Skagen.

He got his artistic breakthrough in 1879 with the painting 'Vil han klare pynten' (Will he survive the the wash).

Anchers paintings are classics and he is one of Denmark's most popular artists. The paintings are often concerned with the heroics of the fishermen and lifeboats crews.

Michael Ancher came from a classic training at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and he found it difficult to adjust to Scandinavian painting's modern breakthrough, the "Skagen school". His marriage to Anna Ancher did, however, introduce him to the naturalistic concept of undecorated reproduction of reality and its colours.

For more information visit: www.anchershus.dk/

A Creative Past

Location: Skagen, Denmark
Style Consultant: Tracy Nors
Photographer: Jesper Nors

Michael Ancher’s house
anna and anchers house in skagen Denmark Walking up to Anne and Michael Ancher’s house, you could be forgiven for thinking that it looks pretty much like any other house in the town, for it is situated in Skagen which is populated by thatched cottages and grand houses.

"The picturesque tourist town on the northern most tip of Jutland in Denmark, is famous for its Artist community. For decades, Artists have been drawn to the area, famed for its quality of light and natural beauty; much like the sea-side resort of St Ives in Cornwall in the UK.

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A bit about the house
On entering the Ancher’s house however, it is like stepping back in time as it has a unique and preserved interior.

It was purchased in 1884 by Anne and Michael Ancher, who belonged to the community of Nordic painters, known as the Skagen Painters. In 1913, a large studio annex was added to the property and this also forms part of what is on display today.

interior of artist ancher and anna in denmark

The Anchers had a daughter, Helga; who upon her death in 1964, left the house and all of its contents to a foundation. The place was restored and opened in 1967 as a museum / visitor attraction.

This house is brimming with displays of Michael and Annes paintings as well as those from many other Skagen painters who made up their circle of friends.

interior design with skagen paintings

Homely and painted
Walking around the house it feels really homely and not at all ‘museum like’. There is a good layout and the rooms flow really well with many smaller rooms such as the study and kitchen coming off a large hall area, now housing a huge dining table.

The beautiful examples of the couple’s paintings are displayed alongside decorative objects typical of their time.

They have adorned their home by adding decorative paintings on traditionally painted surfaces such as the back of the panelled doors; depicting wild life such as ducks and birds and this adds further to the creative atmosphere.

artist house painted door

The atelier or studio area is furnished more sparsely than some of the other more grand rooms in the house, but this makes it feel calm and wonderfully light and airy. An easel is displayed, complete with one of the Anchers half finished paintings; it felt like they may have just popped out, and would be returning at any moment, to finish it.

Period chic
Despite the homes obvious old style interior, it has many elements which make it feel like a home you could still live in today, such as the roll top bath or the classic flat moulded kitchen cupboards. These features are still in situ in many period homes today, especially in apartments in cities such as Copenhagen, from the same era, where many discerning customers when purchasing property today, now seek them.

retro kitchen with blue units

Anne and Michael Anchers former home, is charming and atmospheric and still felt to me like a family home.

Skagen
Walking around the quaint town, in which it is situated, I saw many other splendid houses, built close together with beautifully kept gardens and could imagine the place with a good sense of community still today.

The Skagen painters flocked there for the light but there are many other unique things about the town, which make it special.

It is said, that if you walk out along the sand to the end of the Skagen peninsular,
You can stand with one foot in one ocean and one in another.