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Picturing a World

Happy artistic marriage

At last! A woman artist who was not squelched by her husband, but treated as an equal. This painting depicts Anna Ancher and her husband, Michael Ancher, thoughtfully absorbed in critiquing a canvas together. He actually painted most of it but each painted the other’s face, and the work on the easel might be by either of them. Like Marie Bracquemond (née Quivoron), who married her teacher, Félix Bracquemond, Anna Ancher (née Brøndum) married Michael Peter Ancher, who was hers. Both couples cooperated artistically, but Félix was difficult and restraining whereas Michael recognized and encouraged Anna’s abilities. It might make a good topic for a novel to examine the interactions of two artistic marriages, perhaps at an artists’ colony, such as the Anchers' Skagen. The power balances within and between them as couples and individuals would provide lots of psychological and dramatic grist.

For a more than seventy works by each of the Anchers at The Athenaeum website, click here for Anna and here for Michael.

For short biographies of the Anchers and other Skagen artists, click here.

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