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Laurits Andersen Ring

 (1854 - 1933)
Laurits Andersen Ring was active/lived in Denmark.  Laurits Ring is known for Symbolist and social realist painting.

Laurits Andersen Ring

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Laurits Andersen Ring
Laurits Andersen Ring was one of the foremost Danish painters of the turn of the 20th century, who pioneered both symbolism* and social realism* in Denmark. Considered one of the masterpieces of Danish culture, his painting Summer Day by Roskilde Fjord was included in the 2006 Danish Culture Canon.

Born as Laurits Andersen in the village Ring in southern Zealand, Ring had a father who was a wheelmaker and carpenter named Anders Olsen (1816-83) and a mother who was a farmer's daughter named Johanne Andersdatter (1814-95). In 1869, he became a painter's apprentice because his older brother was to take over the father's workshop. In 1873, while working in Copenhagen, Laurits decided to take classes in painting, and after two years of private studies he was accepted at the Danish Academy of Arts in 1875 and studied briefly with painter P. S. Krøyer. He was never content with the academy and disliked the strict training in classical disciplines.

In 1881, he and his friend, the painter Hans Andersen from the village of Brændekilde, decided to change their last names, taking the names of their native villages, in order to avoid confusion at their joint exhibition. Laurits became L. A. Ring, and his friend Hans became H. A. Brendekilde.

Ring's first exhibition took place in 1882, but he did not acquire recognition until 1884, the year in which he finished The Railroad Guard (Banevogteren, 1884). At this time, Denmark was in political turmoil, as the Council President Estrup had bypassed democratic rule and governed through decrees. Ring was politically active in the "Rifle movement", a revolutionary group of students taking up arms training in preparation for a rebellion. Ring became increasingly interested in the difficulties of the poor and social justice for the lower classes.

While he lived in Copenhagen, he became a close friend of the family of lawyer and amateur painter Alexander Wilde. He spent Christmas and summers with the family and formed a close friendship with Wilde's wife, Johanne. Ring was deeply in love with her, but she remained faithful to her husband, although she and Ring exchanged frequent and intimate letters. Ring painted many tender portraits of Mrs. Wilde. As Ring realized that the relation would never materialize, he turned his back on the Wildes, experiencing a time of intense depression. In 1893 he received a travel stipend and spent the year studying in Italy.

In 1894, Ring was used as a model for a character in the novel Night watch (Nattevagt) by the Danish author and later Nobel prize winner Henrik Pontoppidan, an old friend of his. Ring served as a model for the unflattering character Thorkild Drehling, a painter and failed revolutionary, who was in love with his best friend's wife. Ring did not object to the unflattering depiction, but he was offended that Pontoppidan would publicly divulge his infatuation with Johanne Wilde in that way. Ring, deeply hurt by Pontoppidan's betrayal of confidence, broke off his friendship, never giving an explanation.

Upon his return from Italy, he started working on a series of paintings with fellow painter Sigrid Kähler as a model. She was the daughter of ceramic artist Herman Kähler. In 1896 Ring married Kähler, who was only 21 year old at the time (he was 42). Living together in Karrebæksminde, the couple had three children before Sigrid Kähler died in 1923, at age 49.

In 1900, Ring received the bronze medal at the World's Fair in Paris for his painting In the Garden Doorway, the Artist's Wife (I Havedøren, 1887).  His son, Ole Ring (1902-1972), also became a painter, and painted in a style highly influenced by that of his father.

For a while, Laurits lived at Baldersbrønde near Hedehusene in the old school building, which was later to be the home of another painter, Ludvig Find. Ring produced several paintings from these towns. By 1913, Ring was a notable member of Denmark's artistic community and a censor at the Charlottenborg exhibitions. He had a house built at Sankt Jørgensbjerg in Roskilde, overlooking the fjord. Here he spent the last decade of his life, before his death in 1933.

The year after Ring's death, the author Peter Hertz published a biography in which he summarized Ring's life and work: "His oeuvre remains as his life and essence: The still water of profound depth".  Today there are examples of his work at practically every Danish art museum including the Hirschsprung Collection in Copenhagen.

As a painter, Ring never distanced himself from his humble origin, but rather made it his dominant theme, depicting the reality of rural life. This is visible for example in his painting Gleaners (Axsamlere 1887) showing how the rural poor would pick up the grain left behind by the increasingly industrial methods of harvesting, a motif first made famous by Millet. Most of his paintings depict the village life and landscapes of southern Zealand from Præstø to Næstved. In his landscape painting, he was also inspired by psychological symbolism, infusing the landscapes with an otherworldly mystique and "strange mixtures of mood". This style has been described as "anti-naturalism".

His entire work demonstrates a division between an attachment to tradition and the spirit of modernity. Many of his paintings depict crossings and thresholds: the space between waiting and leaving in a doorway, at a window or at a railroad crossing. This symbolism is visible for example in his painting In the Garden Doorway showing the artist's wife, pregnant in the doorway between the living room and the garden with a background of gnarled and withered branches.

"L.A. Ring", Wikipedia,

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

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Laurits Andersen Ring
Lauritz Andersen Ring (AKA: Laurits Andersen Ring) was born the 15 August, 1854 in the village of Ring, in Seeland, where his ancestors had for generations been humble cottagers. There being scant opportunity to pursue his artistic studies in the nearby town of Praestjer, he came to Copenhagen in 1875 and remained at the Academy for a considerable period.

In 1882 he made his first appearance at the Charlottenborg exhibition, and it is on the historic walls of this same venerable institution that his canvases are still annually seen. Save for a few brief trips abroad this essentially home-loving artist has passed most of his quiet, industrious lifetime in Denmark, the fiat, wide-horizoned scenery of which he loves so deeply and paints with such endearing truth and sincerity to fact and to spirit.

Ring continues the line of that older generation of artists who were the veritable founders of Danish landscape. His art is purely traditional, and has nothing in common with that of the younger men now so much in the public eye. To visit his modest, vine-covered and flower-fronted home near Roskilde is like finding one's self back in the fragrant, reposeful atmosphere of past existence and patient endeavour.

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

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About  Laurits Andersen Ring

Born:  1854 - Ring, Denmark
Died:   1933 - Skt. Jorgensberg, Denmark
Known for:  Symbolist and social realist painting