Braiding her Hair

  • Artist: Christian Krohg
  • Creation date: Antagelig 1888
  • Object type: Painting


Christian Krohg had an eye for intimate relationships, and scenes from family life were one of his favourite subjects. Particularly well known are his many depictions from the Gaihede family in Skagen in northern Denmark, and from the end of the 1880s it was his own family members who sat for him. In such portraits of family life, Krohg found universal topics that transcended social class and that would therefore appeal to a broad audience. Characteristic of his familial paintings is their focus on the small, everyday moments of intimacy and care: a grandfather rocking the cradle, a nursing mother, a mother reading to her children, or as in this painting, a mother braiding the hair of her little daughter.

Taking his cue from photography, Krohg sought to give his paintings a sense of immediacy. His compositions are typified by their drastically cropped motifs, spontaneous postures, and often also unconventional positioning. One of the original elements of Braiding her Hair is that the scene is seen from behind, and we must therefore ourselves imagine the facial expressions of the two figures. “Cropping is key” became a motto for Krohg. A crucial effect of such composition is that it creates a unity between the picture plane and the viewer’s position.

Krohg’s focus on intimacy and relationships serves to balance the fragmentary momentariness created by his formal solutions. We are introduced to what seems a random event, but such Krohgian moments often contain an emotional aspect that adds substantive depth to the painting.

Text: Vibeke Waallann Hansen

From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0


Christian Krohg

Billedkunstner, Author, Journalist, Jurist

Born 1852 in Vestre Aker, death 1925 in Oslo

Work info

Creation date:
Antagelig 1888
Other titles:
Håret flettes (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Width: 49 cm
  • Height: 56 cm
Motif - type:
Kjøpt 1914
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single artwork
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Lathion, Jacques