Simply picturesque. The artists' colony Ekensund
Towards the end of the 19th century existed more than 50 brickworks on the Flensburg Fjord because of the extensive clay deposits. Most of them were located near Ekensund, the now Danish Egernsund, on the northern shore of the fjord, not far from the island of Alsen. Gradually, almost all the brickworks closed their kilns and drying houses.
But in the paintings and prints of the artists of the Ekensund artists' colony, these bright red brick factory buildings with their low-pitched roofs reflected in the water have survived. Also depicted were the brickyard workers and the small harbor from which the bricks were conveniently transported by coastal sailing vessels.
The small fishing village remained alive in the works of Alexander
Eckener (1870–1944), Otto Heinrich Engel (1866–1949), Louis Jensen (1858–1908), Anton Nissen (1866–1934), Jacob Nøbbe (1850–1919) and
his son Erwin Nøbbe (1882–1948) as well as Heinrich Petersen-Angeln (1850–1906) or Heinrich Petersen-Flensburg (1861–1909), to name just a few of the painters exhibited in Heikendorf.
In Ekensund, the artists found their impressions and motifs in their search for an unspoiled landscape, the 'natural', the 'original' and the 'true', far away from urban civilization, technical progress and academic teaching. Similar to their painter colleagues in the Danish Skagen, in Worpswede near Bremen or in the artists' colony Heikendorf, they worked as open-air painters. They worked outdoors in wind and weather, directly in front of nature, in order to capture the play of light, which depended on the time of day and the seasons, and
to master the difficult lighting conditions in their paintings..
In the 1870s, the first painters settled in Ekensund, but it was not until 1882 that there was a solid base of artists, which justifies speaking of an artists' colony. Special mention should be made of the Flensburg landscape photographer Wilhelm Dreesen (1840–1926), who was one of the
co-founders of the colony, who repeatedly captured the painters in photographs and also gave them motivational ideas. Together with Jacob Nøbbe, who was born in Flensburg, Dreesen stands for continuity within the circle of artists and for the connection between the first and the second generation of artists, who gathered around Otto Heinrich Engel ten years later. Trained at the Karlsruhe Art Academy, Engel came from Munich to Ekensund in 1892. The summer society of artists now gathered around him. Due to his calm and sociable nature, he also had good contact with the local brickmakers, skippers, fishermen and shipbrokers, whose working world he captured in many paintings.
After the turn of the century, female painters also belonged to the Ekensund artists' colony.
At that time, there was no joint exhibition of all those who created in Ekensund. This lack of involvement indicated that the sense of community was on the wane. The sale of the traditional "Schumanns Gasthof", where the artists had spent many convivial hours and which had served them as a meeting place, heralded the end of the Ekensund artists' colony. When North Schleswig became Danish in 1920 after the referendum, Ekensund was forgotten for a long time.
The Künstlermuseum Heikendorf would like to thank, in addition to the many private and public lenders, especially the Kunsthandlung Messerschmidt from Flensburg for the great support of the exhibition and the very pleasant cooperation.
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