The sphere of activity of the Danish artist Anton Melbye reached from Copenhagen to Paris and from the Bosporus to the river Elbe. The artist’s mid-19th century work connects romanticism with the roots of symbolism. Regine Gerhardt traces Melbye's artistic development and presents the painter and his oeuvre in the art-historical context of his time.
The publication is planned for Melbye's jubilee year 2018.
Like no other Danish artist of the 19th century, with the exception of the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, Anton Melbye (1818-1875) already gained an extraordinary international reputation during his lifetime, which extended beyond the borders of Europe. Vilhelm Melbye (1824-1882) was one of the leading artists for maritime themes not only in his home country and in Scandinavia, but especially in England. Fritz Melbye (1824-1869), on the other hand, was popular mainly among collectors in North America. Nevertheless, these artists, who left behind a large, high-quality and art-historically significant oeuvre, are now almost completely forgotten
When they left Copenhagen for the first time in the 1840ies, their works were scattered all over Europe and art historical research lost sight of them. Fritz Melbye, at best, repeatedly attracted the attention of art historians, such as Alfredo Boulton (t) and Richard Brettell, who studied the artistically formative years of Camille Pissarro alongside the Danish painter. The art historian Regine Gerhardt has set herself the goal of thoroughly researching the scientific work of the Melbye brothers, re-evaluating them scientifically, and bringing them back to the light and attention of art lovers and researchers.
The most recent findings of her dissertation project on Anton Melbye will be published as a monograph and form the basis of the upcoming Anton Melbye exhibition which will be held from 20 September 2017 to 4 February 2018 at the Altonaer Museum in Hamburg on the occasion of the artist’s 200th birthday.
Further publications on Vilhelm Melbye and Fritz Melbye will follow. The exchange and cooperation with universities, museums, archives and galleries is extraordinarily valuable and welcome as is the support from private collectors who have granted researchers access to their Melbye works.
You too are very welcome, as some collectors have already done, to provide photographic material from your art collections to the online gallery. This website is a further step to make the public aware again of the Melbye brothers’ art, to induce new research and to bring science and art lovers together.
Anton Melbye, Ansicht von Copenhagen, o.Dt. (private collection)