At home with the Anchers

Explore the painters Anna and Michael Ancher's home in Skagen, Denmark

Anchers Hus. FrontAnchers Hus

From 1884, Anchers Hus in Skagen was the home of painters Anna Ancher (1859-1935) and Michael Ancher (1849-1927).

Door in Anchers HusAnchers Hus

The building has been preserved as it was, when the Ancher couple lived there. You can explore the interiors and the paintings, which tells a a story of two artists and one lifelong partnership.

Self-portrait with Anna Ancher (N.d.) by Michael AncherAnchers Hus

An artists couple

Anna and Michael Ancher are one of the most famous artists couples in Scandinavian art history. Both of them were leading figures in the group of Skagen Painters.

Anna Ancher and Michael Ancher in front of Krøyer's Studio, 1890s, From the collection of: Anchers Hus
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Anna and Michael Ancher, C. 1900, From the collection of: Anchers Hus
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Skagen 1876 (1876)Anchers Hus

In the 1870's Skagen became home to a burgeoning artists' colony, which attracted young European artists. The painters in the group would collectively become known as the Skagen Painters.

Michael Ancher (C. 1879)Anchers Hus

Michael Ancher

Michael Ancher was born in Rutsker on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. After meeting the Danish artist Theodor Philipsen, he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Here, he was encouraged to travel to Skagen, the most northern town in Denmark. In the heroic local fishermen of Skagen, Ancher found a motif that would become a recurring subject of his painting and make his name as a leading realist painter. 

Anna Brøndum (C. 1879)Anchers Hus

Anna Ancher

Anna Ancher (neé Brøndum) was the only artist in the group of Skagen Painters who was born in Skagen. Her parents were the proprietors of the local inn, and here she met the visiting artists, who inspired her to pursue an artistic career. 

Portrait of the artist's fiancée Anna Brøndum (1878) by Michael AncherAnchers Hus

In 1874, Michael Ancher visited Skagen for the first time. Here, he met Anna Brøndum, who he taught about art.
A few years later, the two of them were engaged.

Study of a seamstress in blue (N.d.) by Anna AncherAnchers Hus

Anna Ancher developed her own distinct artistic style, in which she boldly explored light and colour.

Michael Ancher and Anna Brøndum (1879)Anchers Hus

Mr. and Mrs. Ancher

Anna and Michael were married in August 1880 on her 21st birthday. Earlier the same year, she had made her debut at the annual Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, where he had enjoyed considerable success with his painting 'Will he round the point?'. Thus began a lifelong partnership between the two as spouses, colleagues, and later, as parents.

The Garden House (1907/1907)Anchers Hus

After their marriage in 1880, the couple first settled in a house in the garden of Anna Ancher’s parents’ property. Here, Michael Ancher established a studio in one end of the house.

Michael Ancher painting Anna Ancher standing in the doorway, Peder Severin Krøyer, 1883, From the collection of: Anchers Hus
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Anna Ancher standing in the doorway, Michael Ancher, 1883, From the collection of: Anchers Hus
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Anna Ancher breastfeeding her daughter (C. 1883) by Michael AncherAnchers Hus

In 1883, the couple had their first and only child, Helga.

The enclosed front garden of Anchers HusAnchers Hus

Anchers Hus

The birth of their daughter led them to acquire a nearby property in 1884, where they would live for the rest of their lives. 

Helga and Anna Ancher, Peder Severin Krøyer, 1885, From the collection of: Anchers Hus
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Anna Ancher, Michael Ancher, and Helga Ancher, 1890s, From the collection of: Anchers Hus
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Home from the shoot, Michael Ancher, 1898, From the collection of: Anchers Hus
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Portraits in the Long Dining Room (2017)Anchers Hus

A welcoming home

With the Ancher family in residence, the house became a centre of the artists’ colony in Skagen.

The South Room (2017)Anchers Hus

On the walls are numerous portraits of fellow painters, authors, and other artists.

Like the painter Peder Severin Krøyer (1851-1909).

The influential cultural critic Georg Brandes (1842-1927).

The architect and designer Thorvald Bindesbøll (1846-1908).

The South Room (2017)Anchers Hus

The interiors

The Anchers were not only artists, but also art collectors. The walls of the house are hung with paintings from floor to ceiling.

Portrait of Ane Hedvig Brøndum (C. 1898) by Anna AncherAnchers Hus

Anna Ancher seated in the North room (1891) by Michael AncherAnchers Hus

Girl with Sunflowers (1893) by Michael AncherAnchers Hus

Conversation in the West Room (n.d.) by Michael AncherAnchers Hus

The interiors are recognisable from many of the couple's paintings. Here we are in the parlour known as the West Room.

The West RoomAnchers Hus

You will recognise the mahogany framed couch and the painting above it.

Anna Ancher and Michael Ancher in the West Room, C. 1900, From the collection of: Anchers Hus
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Anchers Hus seen from the west gardenAnchers Hus

The new wing

When the Ancher family acquired the house in 1884 it was a quite small building, but it was only in 1913, that a new wing was added to the building after several years in the planning. 

The Long Dining RoomAnchers Hus

The new wing contained a large dining room, which provided convenient additional wall space to display even more paintings.

Michael Ancher's Studio (2017)Anchers Hus

Most importantly, the new wing contained two new spacious studios for the artists.

Anna Ancher's Studio (2019)Anchers Hus

For the first time, Anna Ancher got a dedicated studio space. Until then she had been working from a room that doubled as a corridor.

Anna Ancher in her studio in Anchers HusAnchers Hus

Helga Ancher (1906)Anchers Hus

From home to museum

Anna and Michael Ancher's only child, Helga Ancher, became a painter like her parents. Upon Anna Ancher’s death in 1935 she inherited the house but did not take up residence and left it unaltered. In her will, Helga Ancher bequeathed Anchers Hus, its interiors and the art collection to a foundation with her name. In 1967, three years after her death, Anchers was opened to the public as a museum.

Anna and Michael Ancher (1920s)Anchers Hus

Helga Ancher's generous gift makes it possible for us to experience the home of Anna and Michael Ancher as it looked when they lived there a century ago.

Credits: Story

Text: Art Museums of Skagen
Photo: Roberto Fortuna, Kirsten Bøjstrup, and Art Museums of Skagen.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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