Peder Severin Kroyer (23 July
1851 – 21 November 1909), known as P. S. Krøyer, was a
Danish painter. He is one of the best known and beloved, and
undeniably the most colorful of the Skagen Painters, a
community of Danish and Nordic artists who lived, gathered
or worked in Skagen, Denmark, especially during the final
decades of the 19th century. Krøyer was the unofficial
leader of the group.
Growing up and early training
Krøyer was born in Stavanger, Norway, on 23 July 1851 to
Ellen Cecilie Gjesdal. He was raised by Gjesdal's sister,
Bertha Cecilie (born 1817) and brother-in-law, the Danish
zoologist Henrik Nikolai Krøyer, after his mother was judged
unfit to care for him. Krøyer moved to Copenhagen to live
with his foster parents soon afterward. Having begun his art
education at the age of nine under private tutelage, he was
enrolled in Copenhagen's Technical Institute the following
In 1870 at the age of 19
Krøyer completed his studies at the Royal Danish Academy of
Art (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi), where he had
studied with Frederik Vermehren. In 1873 he was awarded the
gold medal, as well as a scholarship.
His official debut as a painter was in 1871 at
Charlottenborg with a portrait of a friend, the painter
Frans Schwartz. He exhibited regularly at Charlottenborg
throughout his life.
In 1874 Heinrich
Hirschsprung bought his first painting from Krøyer,
establishing a long-standing patronage. Hirschsprung's
collection of art forms the basis of the Hirschsprung Museum
Between 1877 and 1881, Krøyer travelled extensively in
Europe, meeting artists, studying art, and developing his
skills and outlook. He stayed in Paris and studied under
Léon Bonnat, and undoubtedly came under the influence of
contemporary impressionists – Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley,
Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Édouard Manet.
He continued to travel
throughout his life, constantly drawing inspiration from
foreign artists and cultures. Hirschsprung provided
financial support during the early travels, and Krøyer
continued exhibiting in Denmark throughout this period.
In 1882 he returned to Denmark. He spent June–October at
Skagen, then a remote fishing village on the northern tip of
Denmark, painting themes from local life, as well as
depictions of the artistic community there. He would
continue to be associated with the developing art and
literary scene at Skagen. Other artists at Skagen included
writers Holger Drachmann, Georg Brandes and Henrik
Pontoppidan, and artists Michael Ancher and Anna Ancher.
Krøyer divided his time
between rented houses in Skagen during the summer, a winter
apartment in Copenhagen where he worked on his large
commissioned portraits, and travel outside of the country.
Krøyer and Marie
On a trip to Paris in 1888 he ran into Marie Martha Mathilde
Triepcke, whom he had known in Copenhagen. They fell in love
and, after a whirlwind romance, married on 23 July 1889 at
her parents' home in Germany. Marie Krøyer, who was also a
painter, became associated with the Skagen community, and
after their marriage was often featured in Krøyer's
paintings. The couple had one child, a daughter named Vibeke,
born in January 1895. They were divorced in 1905 following a
Krøyer's eyesight failed
him gradually over the last ten years of his life until he
was totally blind. Ever the optimist, he painted almost to
the end, in spite of health obstacles. In fact, he painted
some of his last masterpieces while half-blind, joking that
the eyesight in his one working eye had become better with
the loss of the other eye.
Krøyer died in 1909 in
Skagen at 58 years of age after years of declining health.
He had also been in and out of hospitals, suffering from
bouts of mental illness.
Krøyer's best known and best-loved work is entitled Summer
Evening on Skagen's Southern Beach with Anna Ancher and
Marie Krøyer (Sommeraften ved Skagen Sønderstrand med Anna
Ancher og Marie Krøyer), 1893. He painted many beach scenes
featuring both recreation life on the beach (bathers,
strollers), and local fishermen.
Another well-loved work is
Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach (Sankthansbål på
Skagen strand), 1903. This large-scale work features a great
crowd of the artistic and influential Skagen community
gathered around a large bonfire on the beach on Saint John's
Eve (Midsummer Eve).
Both of these works are in
the permanent collection of the Skagens Museum which is
dedicated to that community of artists, including those who
gathered around Krøyer, a great organizer and bon vivant.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fishermen hauling nets, North
Beach, Skagen, 1883
Committee for the French Art
Exhibition in Copenhagen 1888, 1888
Osteria in Ravello, 1890
Loggia in Ravello, 1890
Marie Krøyer, 1891
Summer Evening at Skagen. The
Artist's Wife and Dog by the Shore, 1892
A breakfast. The artist, his
wife and the writer Otto Benzon, 1893
The Benzon daughters, 1897
Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen