Fisher Woman in Profile 1892

Anna Ancher, Fisher Woman in Profile, 1892; Gift of Jo Francis and John Fuegi
Anna Ancher, Fisher Woman in Profile, 1892; Gift of Jo Francis and John Fuegi

Figures in profile, especially women, often appear in Anna Ancher’s paintings. Influenced by the tenets of Realism, Ancher directly observed her subjects and portrayed them in an un-idealized manner. Bust-length paintings of a solitary figure against a dark background are frequently seen in the work of 17th-century northern European artists like Rembrandt, whose work Ancher would have seen in museums on her travels throughout Europe.

The woman in this image is likely a local resident of Skagen. Most of the town’s population made their living by fishing in the waters of the Skagerrak, a strait that connects the North Sea to the Baltic Sea. Characteristic of Ancher’s figures, the sitter does not make eye contact with the viewer. Stylistically, this painting shows Ancher’s tendency to juxtapose relatively unblended fields of color, as seen in the woman’s clothing, particularly in the suggestion of pattern on her headscarf.

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National Museum of Women in the Arts