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Fritz Syberg: The Summer Cabins

When thinking of a Danish beach, most people probably imagine a sandy beach with its blue waters and perhaps some pebbles along the shore, but beaches can also be filled with exciting and beautiful growths, as Fritz Syberg shows in this painting.

In the middle of the foreground stands a beach plant with yellow flowers, teal stems and leaves. We are lead further into the picture in a curved motion that goes along the shore. The varied vegetation creates different color belts in shades of amber and green, and goes parallel to the edge of the beach.  At the end of the meadow, we meet two small beach huts, where the beach breaks and the eye’s journey ends with a yellow sandy rise that slides into a dense green scrub. Fritz Syberg shows us the surprisingly lush nature of the lean sand with the yellow and blue of the beach flowers, against the dry colours of the straw, beach cabbage and the underlying trees, which go from the brightest yellow to all shades of green.

From 1902 to 1910, the Syberg family spent their summers on Funen’s Head, in the two primitive cottages shown in the painting: a guest cabin and a cabin for the large family, which at the time had six children. Here the family cultivated a simple, natural life and Fritz Syberg painted a large number of paintings of nature, water and family.

Even though Funen’s Head attracts a fair share of tourists nowadays, it was very different back in the early 1900’s. Here, the Syberg family only need to share the area with cattle and occasionally with local fishermen and the many artists who were invited to visit. In this way, Syberg was able to portray the beautiful and unspoilt nature in calm.