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P.S. Krøyer: 'Marie Krøyer', 1890. The Hirschsprung Collection

P.S. Krøyer’s portrait of his wife, Marie Krøyer

The museum very recently acquired the unique portrait Marie Krøyer, painted by P.S. Krøyer during the couple’s honeymoon in 1890. Up until this point, the work was owned by a private collector abroad, but now, thanks to the support of the New Carlsberg Foundation, the Agency for Culture and Palaces and the Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansen Foundation, it is on public display in Denmark again.

The 1890 honeymoon

The portrait of the artist’s wife, Marie, was painted during the couple’s honeymoon in 1890. The trip, which took them via Germany to Florence, Rome, Naples and Amalfi, is among the most productive journeys abroad that Krøyer undertook throughout his career.

The painting shows Marie with her hands by her sides, her eyes turned directly onto the observer. Her right hand rests on the gold belt glinting in the sun like the wedding ring on her finger.

Marie Krøyer, the artist’s wife, depicted in Amalfi during the couple’s honeymoon in 1890. The oil painting belonged to Marie Krøyer as her personal property, meaning that it arrived in Sweden with her when she left Denmark.

P.S. Krøyer: 'Marie Krøyer', 1890. The Hirschsprung Collection

Marie is presumably standing on the terrace overlooking the coastline at Amalfi – a terrace specifically located by the Albergo della Luna, where the couple stayed. Krøyer painted several pictures from this terrace, which can now be observed at the museum. He describes the place in a letter from 14 July 1890:

‘We live excellently here, in an hotel set in a former monastery … we have three rooms and a terrace with a lovely view of the sea, the town and the coast, and this is where we take our coffee in the morning’.

An important piece of the puzzle

The painting Marie Krøyer is an important part of the overall narrative of the imagery that would come to define P.S. Krøyer’s art, not least in the eyes of posterity: images of his wife, Marie.The museum already owned a pastel depicting the same subject. The acquisition of this oil brings together the two works in a most fitting fashion.

P.S. Krøyer: 'Marie Krøyer', 1890. The Hirschsprung Collection. The museum already owns a pastel depicting the same subject; it was done after the oil. Krøyer gave the pastel version to a close friend of Marie, the artist Agnes Slott-Møller. The work passed on to Slott-Møller’s daughter, who sold it to the Hirschsprung Collection in 1939.

Today, the Hirschsprung Collection owns the largest collection of P.S. Krøyer’s art outside of Skagen. Krøyer was among those artists whom the founder of the museum, Heinrich Hirschsprung, actively supported as a patron. Hirschsprung was quick to notice the talent of the young Krøyer, and the two men formed a lifelong friendship.