Anna Ancher (1859-1935) was a well known member of the artist colony of the Danish Skagen painters. She is known for her intriguing interiors in an impressionistic style which mostly show women and children in her daily surroundings. She was interested in exploring the natural light. Through her husband the painter Michael Ancher and other Skagen painters she was well informed about the impressionism in Europe and which she took on and developed into her own unique style. Standing in front of one of her beautiful oil paintings, filled with light, just takes away your breath.
During my last visit to Skagen in the very north of Denmark I was surprised to find a book at the Skagen museum which concentrates on her pastels. What is even more surprising that it has a very close look on her technique and materials. Anna Ancher worked with pastels from the french company Lefranc & Bourgois. As far as I could find out the company still exists but they have shut down their pastel line. The book listed which pastels where available at Annas time and which sticks she used. Even more interesting is the look on her painting grounds. She started of with paper as used in that time but at 1885 she switched to canvas. Those canvas were extended on a stretcher which was extremely rare. It was then grounded with a chalk layer and instead of using powdered pumice she used fibres from linen, cotton, or even flax. What an interesting combination. I first mistook some of her pastels for oil paintings at the Anna and Michael Ancher Museum in Skagen. Her larger body of work was done in oils and only few pastels were done as studies for later oil paintings. The other pastels surely can be considered as independent art within her work.
The excellent catalogue by Elisabeth Fabritius which has a detailed section on her technique and painting grounds (something which is very rare in catalogues) can be ordered directly at the Skagen Museum in Denmark. The catalogue is completely in English and cost about 34 Euro (43 US Dollar).