I’m still lingering in Denmark, but way back in time around 1900, when Anna Syberg was painting the flowers in her home and garden. I’m intrigued by women artists working more than 100 years ago. The view of society at that time was that women artists were creative amateurs by the side of their professional husbands. This view off course limited the women’s acceptance alongside their male counterparts and consequently the possibilities for exhibiting their art.
Anna Syberg (1870 Faaborg-1914 Copenhagen) together with her husband Fritz Syberg, was one of the “Funen Artists” who lived and worked on the Danish island of Funen. Anna Syberg was the mother of several children including the artist Ernst Syberg and the composer Franz Syberg.
Flower motifs from the window sill and the garden occupied her and were easily available. She painted mostly in watercolour with an underlying pencil drawing, often followed up with black ink details over the watercolour.
The year after her death in 1914, a memorial exhibition was held, and the founder of Faaborg Museum acquired many of her paintings. She thus achieved the recognition and acceptance that she had fought for in discussions with her brother, Peter Hansen, who was against women’s art being displayed at museums.
From Pisa, Italy, on Jan 14, 1912, she wrote to him:
“What a fuss you make. You voted against me at Faaborg Museum because of your oh so high ideals about guarding the virtue of Art in Denmark. You wrote that you didn’t want to spare me the knowledge that I and the other female artists have no significance in Danish art.”
Anna Syberg only lived to age 44, but would have been very happy to know that Faaborg Museum values her artwork so highly, that it now fills two rooms. Two beautiful rooms!
For a short film on the life and works of Anna Syberg click here.