JOHANSEN, Viggo
(b. 1851, København, d. 1935, København)

Near Skagen Østerby after a Storm

1885
Oil on canvas, 95 x 147 cm
Skagens Museum, Skagen

Around 1870, growing numbers of Scandinavian (Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish) artists took to visiting Paris, the modern metropolis with its many-sided art scene. They attended the school of Léon Bonnat, or the Académie Julian, or the Académie Colarossi. Some of them were tutored by Jean-Léon Gérôme. When summer arrived and tuition ceased at the private schools in Paris, the artists deserted the city. The coast of Brittany was especially popular for painting holidays. In the 1880s, there was a Swedish artists' colony at Grèz-sur-Loing, by the Fontainebleau woods.

In due course the artists took the idea of the artists' colony back to Scandinavia with them. The most famous of the northern colonies was at Skagen in Denmark. Many Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish artists returned there every summer, to paint in the fine northern light in the company of friends old and new.

Johansen painted with Monet's influence still fresh. Sheep are grazing in the foreground, while on the horizon, which divides the picture in two, we see Skagen with its mill, lighthouse, and the yellow-painted houses with their red tiled roofs.