Saturday in the Museum with Theodor

Image: Theodor Philipsen, Bissevejr (1909).

This week we spotted a gaggle of geese by the side of the road. It is a time of year when high summer starts to hint of autumn. With that in mind, this painting by Danish painter Theodor Philipsen caught our eye to highlight for this week’s art post about food, in particular this year the source of food.

Philipsen was born in 1840 in Copenhagen. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, coming of age at the height of a golden age for Danish creativity. “Theodor really found his artistic identity in the open-air painting of the 1880s and, through his involvement in French impressionism, was of great importance to the subsequent generations of Danish colorists. Philipsen’s nature perception was more realistic than the artistic models. It was therefore natural for him to seek inspiration in Paris, and together with Laurits Tuxen, he taught at Léon Bonnat, a very unusual step for an older artist of 35 years. Here Philipsen learned through intensive croquis drawing to capture the characteristic of a movement and to give his images a superior overall effect.”

This painting, translated as Stampede Weather, is in the David Museum in Denmark. They offer this description:

“The small island of Saltholm in Øresund was an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Theodor Philipsen. Large herds of cattle from the farms on Amager were ferried over to the island, where they could roam freely during the summer months. Grazing livestock played the lead role in this distinctive circle of subject matter, which is today considered the undisputed acme of Philipsen’s art; a theme developed in step with his adoption of the Impressionist technique.

“Philipsen found the subject of Stampede Weather on Saltholm, where geese, cows, horses and seagulls can all be seen in the flat island landscape. The most expressive element of the picture is the two cows to the left in the foreground, which appear to have noticed the painter’s presence and turned their gaze towards him. Also striking are the running cows in the picture’s middle distance as well as their shadows on the surface of the water, which add a prominent diagonal movement and sense of depth ending at the group of cows on the islets on the horizon. Finally, Stampede Weather exudes a sense of unrest and turmoil, felt in the drifting clouds in the sky, the patterns forming on the water and among the stampeding animals.

Stampede Weather was not painted out of doors, but back at Philipsen’s studio, as is evident from its careful composition and high degree of finish. There is nothing to suggest that it was painted by an artist who was, by this time, severely afflicted by impaired vision.”


Enjoying these temperate August days? Thinking of dining out and happen to be in the vicinity of Washington, D.C.? When we are not posting on art on Saturday, we are a dining guide for the District. We have 300+ recommended restaurants listed. You can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and current operating status (dine-in and/or take-out, etc. – though things are in flux and we may miss something, so check before you go!) in either LIST or MAP format.

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