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 Fritz Syberg  (1862 - 1939)

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Lived/Active: Denmark/Italy      Known for: Realistic landscape oil and watercolor painting, illustration drawings

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
A young girl in a red dress. The artist's future daughter-in-law, Gudrun Syberg
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Christian Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Syberg, generally known as Fritz Syberg, (28 July 1862, Fåborg – 20 December 1939, Kerteminde) was a Danish painter and illustrator, one of the reactionary Fynboerne or "Funen Painters"* group living and working on the island of Funen.

Syberg, from a poor background in Fåborg, first served a house painter's apprenticeship under Syrak Hansen, the father of fellow artist Peter Hansen before attending the Copenhagen Technical School in 1882 where Holger Grønvold taught him drawing. After a short period at the Danish Academy (spring 1884), he attended the Kunstnernes Frie Studieskoler (1885–1891) where he was the first of the Fynboerne to study under Kristian Zahrtmann.

His travels included Sweden (1899) where he visited Johannes Larsen, Germany (1902), Italy (1905) together with Jens Birkholm, the Netherlands and Paris (1908) and Pisa (1910–1913). Syberg married Syrak Hansen's daughter Anna in 1894 and, after her death in 1914, he married her sister Marie in 1915. He was the father of artist Ernst Syberg and composer Franz Syberg.

Together with Johannes Larsen, Poul S. Christiansen and Peter Hansen, Syberg was one of the first Funen artists to study under Zahrtmann who had broken away from the traditions of the Danish Academy to venture into Naturalism* and Realism*. Initially he was influenced by Zahrtmann's colourist approach which can be seen in Dødsfald (1892) depicting his mother's death in Fåborg's poorhouse 14 years earlier. After marrying Hansen's sister, the painter Anna Syberg, his works became brighter as evidenced by his landscapes and the 18 large drawings he completed in 1895 to 1898 to illustrate Hans Christian Andersen's The Story of a Mother, now considered to be among Denmark's finest drawings.

Thereafter, his oils include Dødens komme (1906) and Døden ved vuggen (1907) and landscapes depicting scenes from Funen, first around Dyreborg and Svanninge such as Forår (1893) and Aftenleg i Svanninge Bakker (1900) and later the area west of Kerteminde where his garden and children were the main subjects.

Quite early in his career, Syberg began to paint watercolours, but it was during his three-year stay in Pisa with his family that he completed a whole series of watercolours adopting a style that was new to Danish art. But shortly after he returned to Denmark, on the occasion of his daughter Besse's marriage to Harald Giersing, Syberg came into contact with the younger generation of Danish artists, resulting in an increasingly Modernist* approach and a return to oils as in Overkærby Bakke.

"Fritz Syberg", Wikipedia, (Accessed 4/16/2013)

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Fritz Syberg (AKA: Christian Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Syberg), was born the 28 July, 1862 at Faaborg, and it is as a prominent member of Den fynske Skole that he takes well defined place in the minds of the Danish public. Like his comrades Johannes Larsen and Peter Hansen, a pupil of Kristian Zahrtmann (see all in AskART), with whom he studied from 1885 to 1891, Syberg made his debut at Charlottenborg, and subsequently joined the Frie Udstilling* where he has regularly exhibited since 1893.

At different intervals he has continued the study and practice of his profession in Germany, Italy, and Paris, and from 1909 has resided in Pisa. While in no sense brilliant or dexterous, the art of Fritz Syberg compensates for any seeming lack of manipulative mastery by its manifest sincerity of purpose and fidelity to fact.

There is an inborn as well as voluntary rusticity of theme and treatment to the work of this particular group which at once commends their production to the quiescent, home-loving Danes. They represent that national note in Danish painting so dear to Director Madsen, and which, though it is never lost, is at times in danger of being obscured by extraneous influences.

Christian Brinton, the Catalogue for the 1912 -1913  EXHIBITION of CONTEMPORARY SCANDINAVIAN ART at New York, Buffalo, Toledo, Chicago and Boston
Submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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