A painting take on programmatic significance: in 1887–88, Peder Severin Krøyer created the large-scale painting Hip, hip hooray! measuring 134.5 by 165.5 cm, which today is in the collection of the Göteborg konstmuseum in Sweden. It shows a lively group of artists who have gathered around a festive table amidst greenery and raise their glasses filled with champagne for a toast. Shown from left to right are: Martha and Viggo Johansen; Christian Krohg; Peder Severin Krøyer who painted the work; Degn Brøndum, the brother of Anna Ancher; Michael Ancher; the Swedish painter Oskar Björck; the Danish painter Thorvald Niss; Helene Christensen, a teacher based in Skagen with whom Krøyer had a close, amicable romantic relationship; and Anna Ancher with her daughter Helga. The mood is boisterous and cheerful and the weather is sunny, as evidenced by the numerous flashes of direct and reflected sunlight scattered across the green leaves.


Peder Severin Krøyer, Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artists’ Party in Skagen, 1887/88. Oil on canvas, 134.5 x 165.5 cm. Göteborgs konstmuseum. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, UFA99.


Until 12 January 2020, a preparatory study for this painting is on view in the exhibition 10 Years MKdW – Masterpieces at the Museum Kunst der Westküste. Loaned to Föhr by the Art Museums of Skagen, it shows the same subject – only the Danish painter Thorvald Niss is not yet included. The festive scene is captured fleetingly, in a sketch-like manner, with details such as the individual features of the painters, the table with bottles and glasses and the surrounding foliage left unfinished. Yet it is this very spontaneity and fleetingness of the brushwork that highlights the momentariness of the scene and reflects the basic principle of Impressionism.


Peder Severin Krøyer, Hip, Hip, Hurrah! ca. 1888. Oil on panel, 32.3 × 41 cm. Art Museums of Skagen.


Peder Severin Krøyer first travelled to Skagen in June 1882 and then returned to it the following summers. Aside from the wealth of subjects, he particularly enjoyed being among artist friends, actively encouraging their interaction by initiating and organising regular gatherings and celebrations. In 1883, for instance, he initiated the so-called “evening academy” which was originally intended to provide the framework for collaborative artistic work; but work increasingly took a back seat to pleasurable amicable togetherness. Costuming, singing, dancing and lively parades reflected the cheerful atmosphere. Often, the Skagen fishermen were invited as well. There was no lack of occasions, which included the arrival or departure of a Skagen painter, a birthday or the successful sale of a painting.

The reason for the festive gathering depicted in the painting Hip, Hip, Hurrah!, on the other hand, was that Anna and Michael Ancher had just moved into a house of their own on Markvej in Skagen. The convivial get-together in the Anchers’ garden in the spring of 1884 was captured in photographs by Fritz Stoltenberg, a marine painter from Schleswig-Holstein; those pictures gave Krøyer the idea to realise a painting of the scene and the same time served as a basis for its composition.


Photo used as a source for Peder Severin Kroyer’s painting Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Photo: http://taotothetruth.blogspot.com/2010/12/peder-severin-kryer-1851-1909.... via Wikimedia Commons.


For all the boisterousness of the festive gathering, the actual process of creating the painting proved rather difficult. As a plein-air artist who painted before the subject, Krøyer was dependent on friends posing for him, ideally on site, in the garden of the Anchers. Yet the artist friends were seldom all available. Moreover, Anna and Michael Ancher were not very happy with the bustle in front of their house, especially since they had moved in the hope of being able to enjoy a little more privacy. Krøyer was therefore unceremoniously expelled from the garden and from then on had to continue his work in the garden of the Brøndum Hotel. Yet there is no sign of those frictions in Krøyer’s painting and the preparatory sketch. The painter managed to capture the sense of freedom, the pioneering spirit, the joy of art and the inspiration of being among fellow artists – all factors that made the success of the “Skagen painters”, of the artistic work created within the Skagen artists’ colony, possible in the first place.

As part of the exhibition 10 Years MKdW – Masterpieces, the oil sketch Hip, Hip, Hurrah! also came to symbolise the festive mood and optimistic spirit on Föhr where the MKdW celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2019. In the course of the anniversary festivities, the words “Hip, hip, hurray!” could repeatedly be heard echoing through the spaces of the museum, celebrating not just the look back on ten years of successful museum work, but also the anticipation of the years to come. After all, 2020 also marks the beginning of a new decade for the MKdW – a new decade of engaging with art of the West Coast – and we look forward to that!


Installation view with the oil sketch Hip, Hip, Hurrah! by Peder Severin Krøyer in the foreground. Photo: Lukas Spörl


But what would the MKdW be without its visitors: in the anniversary year, 47,000 visitors – a new record! – came to Alkersum to be inspired by and fascinated with art focusing on the subjects of the sea and coast.

We look forward to seeing you at our museum again in the coming years and wish all a great start into the new year and all the best for 2020! Hip, Hip, Hurrah! 


Text by Klara Scheuren M.A., research trainee, MKdW