Viggo Johansen

Denmark / 1851 - 1935 / wikipedia
Photo: Viggo Johansen photographed by Peter Newland

Viggo Johansen (3 Jan. 1851 – 18 Dec. 1935); Danish painter and active member of the group of Skagen Painters who met every summer in the north of Jutland. He was one of Denmark's most prominent painters in the 1890s.

As a boy, Johansen already had a talent for drawing which was recognized by Wilhelm Marstrand. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1868-1875, specializing in figure painting, but did not pass the graduation examination. His earliest works are from Hornbæk where he painted between 1872 -76 with works such as Et Maaltid and Nabokonens Besøg.

He first became associated with the Skagen Painters in 1875, encouraged by his fellow students Karl Madsen and Michael Ancher.

From 1885, he exhibited in Paris; there he was inspired by Claude Monet, particularly in his use of colour as can be seen in his painting Christian Bindslev er syg (Christian Bindslev is ill, 1890), which also shows the influence of Christian Krohg, one of the other Skagen painters. After his return from Paris, his paintings took on lighter tones...

It is said that in Skagen, he showed just as much interest in playing Mozart on the hotel piano or Gluck on the church organ as in painting. He married Anna Ancher's cousin Martha Møller in 1880. Martha often served as a model, for example in Køkkeninteriør (Kitchen interior, 1884) — which may have been inspired by Anna Ancher's similarly composed The Girl in the Kitchen — Sovekammerscene (Bedroom Scene, 1885) and Børnene vaskes (Washing the Children, 1888) which were painted partially on the basis of photographs.

Viggo Johansen's daughter, Ellen, was also a painter. She married the painter Johannes Ottesen.

In 1886, Johansen was awarded the Exhibition Medal for the painting Evening Talk. In 1889, many of the Skagen artists received awards at Exposition Universelle in Paris; Johansen won a Gold Medal for Børnene vaskes.
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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