Melbye, Anton (1818-1875)

Artist Description

Copenhagen, 13-02-1818 – Paris, 10-01-1875, painter

Nationality: Danish

Company: Denmark, France, Paris


In learning about shipbuilding. 1833; Kunstakad. KBH. 1838-39; at the same time, Priv. under Impr. with C.W. Eckersberg.

Travel and stay abroad:

The Baltic and North Sea in 1840rne; Morocco 1843; Sth. 1847; Paris 1847-58; Constantinople 1853-ca. 1854.

Scholarships and honours:

Neuhausens per 1843; 1846; Thorvaldsen's With. 1846; Academy. 1846-48.


Charl. Spring 1840-47, 1849, 1858-60, 1862-63, 1866-68, 1875; Univ., Cph. 1843; North. Kunstudst., Cph. 1872; Expo., Paris 1878; The New Carlsberg Painting Collect., Art foren., Cph. 1885; Rådhusudst., Cph. 1901; London 1907; Barnekowske Collect., Art foren., Cph. 1921; North Jutland Art competition, Ålborg 1933; Artist foren. of 18. Nov., 1942; Charl. borg through 100 years, Charl. borg 1957; Ship portraits through 100 years, Nordjyll. Kunstmus. 1976; Storm and quiet, valdemars Castle, 1980; C.w. Eckersberg and his pupils, State. Mouse. for Art, 1983. Solo exhibitions: art salon Louis Bock & Sohn, Hamburg 1900.


Anton Melbye was the oldest of 3 brothers who all became marine painters and lived a large part of their professional lives outside Denmark. Melbye had due to myopia abandon to become a sailor and chose to go in learning as a shipbuilder at Nyholm. He broke off, however, the training, and after an interlude as a musician, Melbye decided after consulting with C.W. Eckersberg, themselves to be marine painter. In 1840rne in the Baltic Sea with the Corvette was undertaken Melbye boating Flora and in the North Sea with the ship of the line Christian VIII, and in 1844 he sailed with Hekla to Morocco. The same year, he received the opportunity to sail with Gefion, which was going to Livorno to embark Thorvaldsen's last works. Sailing was a necessary inspiration, but the early images reminiscent of Ecker's clear and sober rendition of proud ships for full sail. Eddystone Lighthouse, in painting inspired by journey to Morocco, indicating he with dramatic effects in the sky, the sea and lighting the romantic mood that came to permeate his work as a marine painter. On his first travel stipend from the Academy spent Melbye first in Stockholm, where he made studies in the archipelago. The trip went next to the maritime city of Hamburg, if the trading houses and merchants were potential customers for Melbye's marine pictures. From the time he seems also to have taken part in the German udstillingsliv, inter alia. at Academy exhibitions in Berlin. The travel target, Paris, was from the end of 1847 Melbye's permanent hangout the next 10 years. It was under the impression of both the French and the German marinemaleri, that he took and cultivated the romantic genre with dramatic lighting and weather effects that made him one of the sought-after marine painters. In Paris learned Melbye landskabsmaleren Camille Corot, whose influence seems to shape the individual, early river landscapes. Through his brother Fritz took he, probably in 1855, Camille Pissarro and was for a time his teacher. This exhibited at the Salon in 1859 as a pupil by Melbye in 1853 traveled with Melbye the French expedition to the Orient. During his stay in Constantinople he drew up a share studies and must also have gotten 2 orders on paintings from the Sultan, Mahmudie and flagship to the ship of the line's by Bujudire. Later, he performed both a large image to Napoleon III, possibly the steamer Napoleon under the steam-going up against a severe Lake, and an album of drawings by Orient-motifs to the Empress. Christian VIII ordered an episode of the battle of Køge Bay 1677. The distinguished book circle reinforced his international reputation and demand for his works. Melbye's mariner changed with time for romantic scenery, marked by mood conducive weather conditions such as storms, calm seas, high Lake, Moonlight, sunset or dawn, dawning as the ships were given secondary importance. Occasionally, he managed to capture a mood, which is akin to the German romanticist C.D. Friedrich's pantheistic image universe. From 1858, where M was a member of the Art Academy in Copenhagen, he resided alternately in Copenhagen, Paris and Hamburg. Especially in Hamburg was his great reputation, just as he seems to have had an influence on the city's younger painters. Melbye's Danish søstykker from this period shows an approximation to his original Eckersberg affected paint way, but still have the characteristic romantic fullness on the border of the melancholic. Melbye was involved as the first Danish artist with daguerreotypien, which he at the end of the 1840rne learned of Louis Daguerre, in Paris.

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