The famous Funen painters

The famous Funen painters

The main characters in the group of painters who go by the name The Funen painters or the painters of Funen all had roots in Funen - the vast majority of them in Faaborg and Kerteminde. As they laid the groundwork for their artistic endeavors, they formed a circle, that was bound even closer together by marriages and friendships across the board. Part of the group made further connections by teaching at Kunstnernes Frie Studieskole in Copenhagen, where Kristian Zahrtmann in particular became an important figure in their education and came to influence their further work. Of the most important Funen painters can be mentioned:

Johannes Larsen 1867-1961. Came from Kerteminde, where his father was a merchant. He applied for an education in Copenhagen, where he met Fritz Syberg and Peter Hansen among others. Through their circle he met Alhed Warberg, whom he married. Johannes Larsen was the brother of Christine Swane.

Alhed Larsen 1872-1927. Grew up in affluent conditions on the farm Erikshåb, which also became one of the gathering points for the group. As early as 1885, Alhed Larsen designed and painted under the guidance of Fritz Syberg, and she worked for some years as a painter at the Royal Porcelain Factory.

Fritz Syberg 1862-1939. Was born in Faaborg and grew up in poor conditions. He was trained as a painter and then employed by master painter Peter Syrak Hansen, who was the father of Anna and Peter Hansen. Together with Peter Hansen he went to Copenhagen for periods to receive education. He married Anna, and they settled first in Svanninge and then later near Kerteminde.

Anna Syberg 1870-1914. Grew up in Faaborg, where she received instruction from her father. Later she moved to Copenhagen, where she worked on painting flower frames at the Royal Porcelain Factory and simultaneously received drawing lessons. Sister of Peter Hansen.

Christine Swane 1876-1960. Was born and raised in Kerteminde, where her father was a merchant. She received the first painting lessons from i.a. Fritz Syberg and later attended the Art Academys School for Women. In 1910 she married the painter Sigurd Swane. They divorced in 1920, and Christine then lived for a number of years with her sister, who took over the household.

Jens Birkholm 1869-1915. Was born and raised in Faaborg, where he also studied painting. As an apprentice painter he went on the waltz in Germany and Switzerland, and afterwards settled in Berlin. Here he made his artistic breakthrough with a number of socially realistic works. He later moved back to Faaborg, but remained connected to Berlin for the rest of his life.

Peter Hansen 1868-1928. Was sent to school in Copenhagen, but returned to Faaborg after finishing school. His fathers painting workshop in Mesterhuset in Faaborg, became a gathering place for the people of Funen. Peter Hansen went to Copenhagen again,  together with Fritz Syberg and received education. Peter Hansen later settled in Copenhagen with his wife Elise, but maintained the connection to Faaborg. They returned permanently to his hometown in 1916, when he had the opportunity to buy his fathers workshop and turned it into a studio.

Johannes Larsen Museum
Møllebakken was the focal point of this art colony, and the whole atmosphere from can still be captured. The old mill is still towering, and the view over Kerteminde as well as the Great Belt, is still just as beautiful as back then. The painters home is untouched with furniture, paintings and other items. In 1901, the artist couple Alhed and Johannes Larsen built their new home on Møllebakken in Kerteminde and thus not only created a picturesque setting for their family life, but also a hospitable artistic meeting place for painters, writers, sculptors - with its 16 guest beds a haven for art and culture , which was to make its mark on the development of cultural life in Denmark over decades. At this time, Kerteminde housed an entire colony of artists, who in Danish art history like to be summarized under the concept The Funen painters. It was painters, who paid homage to the simple life in harmony with nature and family, and who took their motifs from the immediate surroundings: family life, the living rooms, the flowers on the windowsills, the garden, the fishing boats in the harbor, the fields, the coast and the cliffs, the bird life. Peasant painters said the critics, and it was probably not so bad, said the Funen painters.

Faaborg Museum
Faaborg Museum is something very special. Built for the art of Funen painters - and a total work of art in itself with painting, sculpture, architecture and furniture art. The museum, like the Johannes Larsen Museum, houses a large collection of The Funen painters art. The idea to create a museum arose at a meeting with the businessman Mads Rasmussen and his wife Kristine on 22 February 1910. Here the inner circle of Funen residents was present with i.a. Johannes Larsen, Fritz Syberg, Peter Hansen and Jens Birkholm.

They all became part of the procurement committee, which came to act as a governing body for the museum in relation to procurement, hanging and decoration. It was thus a collective project funded by Mads Rasmussen. It was unheard of for an artist group to create a museum in this way, and the artists were aware of this generosity.


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