1853-1927 | Danish
Signed “J Tuxen 1920 -23” (lower right)
Oil on canvas
The golden glow of the setting sun permeates this intimate scene by the Danish artist Laurits Tuxen. The richly hued work captures the annual harvest celebration in Skagen, Denmark, to commemorate the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. A family gathers around the fire, illuminated by its warm blaze — it is almost certainly Tuxen’s own family, whom he painted on a number of occasions late in his career. Entitled Summer Solstice, it portrays a warmth and intimacy that is rarely achieved in paintings of this size.
Born in Copenhagen in 1854, Laurits Tuxen studied at the Royal Danish Academy with the intention of becoming a maritime painter. However, his high level of skill led his mentors to guide him towards figural painting, and he abandoned marine art to pursue portraiture. He visited Skagen in 1870, where he became associated with the Skagen Painters, a group of artists who painted en plein air in the manner of the French Impressionists. He became the first head of their art school Kunstnernes Frie Studieskoler in the 1880s, which became an important alternative to the more academic program offered by the Royal Danish Academy.
During the 1880s and 90s, Tuxen traveled widely around Europe, where he ingratiated himself with the royal families and painted several important portraits, including Christian IX of Denmark, Queen Victoria and a number of Russian royals. However, in 1901 he returned to Skagen, where he would live for the rest of his life. He went on to paint numerous landscapes in the area, while also creating intimate scenes of his family, the present work included. Today his works can be found in the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg), the Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest), the Amalienborg Museum (Copenhagen), the Skagens Museum (Denmark), and the British Royal Collection (London).
Canvas: 55 1/2" high x 77 3/4" wide
Frame: 63 1/2" high x 85 1/2" wide