Hip, Hip, Hurrah! (Danish: Hip, hip, hurra! Kunstnerfest på Skagen) is an oil-on-canvas painting from 1888 by Norwegian-Danish painter Peder Severin Krøyer. The dimensions of the painting are 134.5 cm × 165.5 cm (53 in × 65 1⁄8 in), approximately six and a half feet wide by a little over five feet tall.
The moment captured in Hip, Hip, Hurrah! was inspired by a photograph taken at a party. In the photo we see: (left to right) Martha Møller Johansen, Anna Ancher’s cousin—who along with Maria Triepcke and Anna Ancher was one of the important women painters of the group—with her husband, the painter Viggo Johansen, Norwegian painter Christian Krohg, Krøyer himself, in the white suit Degn Brøndum (Anna Ancher's brother), Michael Ancher, Swedish painter Oscar Björck, Danish painter Thorvald Niss; local school teacher and wife to Karl Madsen, Helene Christensen (rumored to be romantically involved with Krøyer before he married his wife, Marie); dressed in white and closest to the viewer is Danish painter Anna Ancher and her little daughter at around age four Helga Ancher.
The painting vividly features not only friends but also the atmospheric light of Skagen, where this group of artists lived and worked. Sunshine sparkles on the rims of the glasses and glints from the leaves of the trees. The men clink glasses in a toast, while the women sit at the table. A party has begun.
Krøyer had spent time in France and knew the techniques the Impressionists were using. He was familiar with painting outdoor scenes en plein air, capturing moments of everyday life as opposed to formal portraits.
This group depicted in the painting wasn’t a random birthday party or an imaginary group, but a school of painters that rivaled the Impressionists. Images of the group drinking champagne around a table outdoors was a theme explored by many of the group’s members, including Krøyer 's friend and painter Michael Ancher’s Actors Lunch, Skagen. Like Actor’s Lunch, Hip, Hip, Hurrah! is a nod to the French Impressionists, a glittering celebration light and the careful balance of figures on the canvas. With its celebration of spontaneity and “in group” sensibility, Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party immediately comes to mind. The camaraderie, the soft light that embraces the figures, champagne all around— this painting is the story Krøyer is telling himself about his life.
Painter Fritz Stoltenberg took the photo of the party in the garden at Ancher’s new home; Krøyer found the photo to be delightful and decided to convert it to a large painting. He returned to the table in the garden with his easel, ready to paint. Ancher chased his friend away, reminding him that he and his wife had purchased the property so they could have some privacy and he wasn’t going to tolerate Krøyer traipsing in and out of the garden with painting gear and people sitting to model. Without access to the garden at the exact right time of day to study, Krøyer struggled to finish Hip, Hip, Hurrah! The spontaneous feeling captured in this meticulous composition belies the work involved, this painting was an ongoing project for three to four years.
In 1890, the railway extended into Skagen, making the village more accessible for tourists. The group felt as if an era had ended. In the last ten years of his life, Krøyer’s vision failed him. He said as one eye got worse, the other got better, and he continued to paint even after he went completely blind. He is buried in Skagen, close to the Ancher’s garden, the setting for Hip, Hip, Hurrah!
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