Anna Ancher’s works are full of depictions of everyday life and social circumstances in Skagen. Here we find the kind of fellowship that would arise in kitchens or in the fields when it was time to pluck chickens or mow the field. She also portrayed the fellowship of family, showing the different generations together, and finally the communities found between friends. Anna Ancher repeatedly used her own family, friends and acquaintances as models, but also found subjects in other homes of Skagen; she appears to have moved confidently in all circles.
Depictions of everyday life is a typical theme during this period. The French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848–84) was a major source of inspiration for the Naturalist artists; in 1884 he emphasised the importance of depicting the familiar rather than the alien in order to accurately portray reality. This attitude led, among other things, to the creation of artists’ colonies around Europe as artists wished to live among their chosen subject matter.
Given the many different social communities portrayed by Anna Ancher, it is striking to note that she does not include the artists’ community in Skagen as a subject in her art. Several of the other Skagen Painters portray it, and this particular community was obviously important to her. Perhaps Anna Ancher’s experiments with painting required her to return to the same motifs and models time and time again, and perhaps the artists of the colony were not the kind of dependable models Anna Ancher needed. It may also be that she did not like the other artists seeing her paint.
Photo: Anna Ancher, Before the King's visit, (Ca. 1908). Art Museums of Skagen.