7 fascinating facts about Danish artist Niels Skovgaard

For our By the Sea collection we took our inspiration from the more poetic side of summertime retreats, where you have all the time in the world to gaze out at the view, and let your mind wander to where the sky meets the water.

One artist who let his creativity expand from that very point in the distance was Niels Skovgaard, a painter from Denmark who lived from 1858 to 1938, best known for his painterly seascapes. We integrated some of his beautiful works in the collection as an homage to his mastery of light, his sensitive use of colour and the uniquely moody feel of his work. Because for us, he captured that liminal blue space like no one else.

Here are 7 things you probably didn’t know about him.

1. He had art in his blood

His father was the famous Danish Golden Age painter Peter Christian Skovgaard, and artist Janus La Cour also boarded with the family. Niels, his brother Joakim and his sister Susette all became artists.

2. He was multitalented

Even though he was most famous for his paintings, he was also a sculptor, ceramicist and illustrator. He was part of many decorative projects, such as frescoes for churches and other public buildings.

3. He never graduated

Niels was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, but he never graduated — he traveled instead.

4. He liked things classic

Unlike other artists of the time, Niels wasn’t interested in modernist styles — he considered himself a Naturalist and wanted to capture the majesty of the North Sea.

5. His work is ubiquitous

Generations of Danish school kids have known his work without realizing it: he illustrated a vignette that was on the back of a famous high school songbook for decades.

6. He had lots of kids 

He had a whopping eight children of his own, including author and composer Irene Skovgaard.

7. His creative legacy lives on

If you go to Copenhagen, make sure to enjoy his sculptural talent: his statue of the famous philosopher NFS Grundtvig sits proudly in Vartov Square.