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Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artists’ Party, Skagen
  • Artist Peder Severin Kröyer (Danish, 1851 - 1909)
  • TitleHip, Hip, Hurrah! Artists’ Party, Skagen
  • Dating 1887 - 1888
  • Technique/MaterialOil on canvas
  • Dimensions134,5 x 165,5 cm
  • AcquisitionBequest of Pontus and Göthilda Fürstenberg, 1902
  • Art MovementImpressionism
  • CategoryOil painting
  • Inventory NumberF 62
  • Display StatusOn display in The Fürstenberg Gallery IV (Room 19)
Description
Signatures etc.
Exhibition History
Bibliography
Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artists’ Party, Skagen was painted as a group portrait of the artist’s circle. Seated at a dining table in a garden in summer, a group of artists have gathered for a garden party. They are raising their glasses in a toast, perhaps to life, art, and friendship. At the back of the picture the male artists stand together in happy fellowship. In the foreground sit the women, somewhat more cautious in their bearing. The men are dressed in alternating dark and pale suits. The girl and the mother in the foreground create a contrast with their pale pink and pale blue dresses. The strong sunlight filters through the foliage and sparkles in their hair, on their foreheads, and across the table with its bottles and glasses. Our gaze is drawn into the image, travelling over the woman in the dark dress on the left, the bright girl with her mother, the mother’s arm, hand, and glass, and so to the men’s raised glasses and the artist’s hand conducting the cheers. The scene is framed by leaves, sketchily done or more detailed by turns.

This account of a happy moment in the Skagen colony’s history may appear spontaneous, and was certainly intended to create a vivid impression, yet in fact the painting was carefully composed and took fully four years to complete. The idea came to Krøyer after a meal in Anna and Michael Ancher’s garden at Markvej 2 in the late summer of 1884. The German painter Fritz Stoltenberg had taken a photograph of the party toasting one another that inspired Krøyer. Gradually Krøyer swapped people originally at the party for leading artists in the Skagen colony. He began increasingly to think of the composition as a presentation of the colony. However, it proved difficult to persuade everyone to come to Skagen to pose, which was why the painting took several years to complete. Krøyer made full-scale sketches of each sitter. Oscar Björck painted a portrait of Krøyer, which he used as the model for his self-portrait in the painting.

In the late summer of 1887, Krøyer finally began work on the painting. It was sent to Copenhagen, where it was seen by Pontus Fürstenberg and photographed by Carl Curman in Krøyer’s studio in June 1888. With Heinrich Hirschsprung as middleman and even before the painting was finished, Furstenberg struck a deal with Krøyer to buy the painting for the large sum of 6,000 kroner. Krøyer reworked it at a late stage, exchanging Anna Ancher’s and her 5-year-old daughter’s dark skirts for pales ones. His final touches to the work were the thick white dabs of paint that further reinforced the impression of blazing sunlight. In the painting, Krøyer cleverly balances light and dark, motion and stillness, and groups the figures naturally, and leading the eye to its dramatic centre. The composition is reminiscent of both seventeenth-century Dutch group portraits and the Frenchman Henri Fantin-Latour’s group portraits of French artists.

Sitting at the head of the table is Martha Johansen, then, from the left, Viggo Johansen, Christian Krohg, Krøyer himself, Degn Brøndum (in the hat, the owner of Brøndum’s Inn), Michael Ancher, Oscar Björck, and Thorvald Niss. Seated next to them are Helene Christiansen in the dark striped dress, Anna Ancher, and her daughter Helga Ancher.

Krøyer, who was a skilled organizer and leader of the Skagen colony, has here not only created an idyllic summer scene, but also an emblem of the radical group of artists who represented the advent of Modernism in the North. As in a photograph, the scene gives the impression of snapshot—something the artist has managed to preserve through all his studies and reworkings.

Kristoffer Arvidsson from The Collection Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg 2014