The Expedition Ship "Rylen"

In 1920, Achton Friis bought the 30-ft. long Great Belt fishing boat, Rylen for 4000 kr. His plan was to use it for research on the Danish islands. The idea came up eight years earlier during a visit to Jeppe Aakjær, the poet and author. Achton Friis had just mentioned to him that he was thinking of doing a travel book about Greenland. Jeppe Aakjær wondered why he had to go so far away; right here in Denmark there was much uncharted land. "Just think, Denmark has no fewer than 527 islands! What do we know about them? Stay home and write us a book about them!" 

Since Achton Friis' primary task on each island would be the collection of literary material, he needed another artist to go along on the expeditions. "My companion had the be the person who had the very best abilities for carrying out his calling. That's why I turned to the painter Johannes Larsen, who to my great pleasure said "Yes" right away". 

Through Larsen's network in Kerteminde, Friis found the boat "Fremad", which had to be refurbished at Kerteminde Shipyard. Among other things, the hold had to be fitted out as a cabin, giving more living space than the two narrow bunks in the original interior. Presumably, Larsen the bird painter had a lot to do with this process, because the new name of the boat, Rylen, refers to a little sandpiper called a dunlin, a frequent summer guest along the Danish coasts. Larsen and Friis also planned to be frequent summer guests! 

"Yesterday morning we went aboard Rylen for the first time and sailed away on our long journey. Behind us were the endlessly boring preparations. In our wake whirled a shower of paid bills like withered leaves after a fall storm," according to Achton Friis in his account of his and Johannes Larsen's first sailing trip to the "Isles of the Danes".

Aside from the two artists, there were two other crewmembers. One was Johannes Larsen's son, Puf, who was the engineer and the ship's cook. The other was the 87-yr. old Kerteminde skipper, Christian Andersen, Johannes Larsen's old friend and hunting partner, called "Old Dammit". 

In spite of careful planning, the travellers had to revise their original time plan. Visits to the 132 islands were spread over four years instead of three, and the three-volume publication expanded from the planned 7-800 pages to approximately 1200. 

Since almost all their work went on outdoors, their travels had to be confined to the warmer months. In all, they took five journeys from 1921 until 1924. The publication of The Isles of the Danes was such a rousing success that Achton Friis continued his collaboration with Johannes Larsen, which later resulted in the publication of The Land of the Jutes in 1932-1933 and Denmark's Big Islands in 1936-1937. Together, the collection of volumes goes by the title The Land of the Danes, a unique description of Denmark.

Johannes Larsen Museet

Kunstnerhjemmet for fynbomaleren Johannes Larsen er kendt langt uden for landets grænser for den unikke atmosfære.



BIRD 2019
September 28, 2019 - January 26, 2020
Johannes Larsen Museum

A new exhibition focuses on birds in art in the year 2019!


Ornithological Artists Selected
29. May 2019

Artists have now been selected for the BIRD 2019 exhibition, which will be more comprehensive than ever before.

New Acquisition for the Syberg Collection
29. May 2019

The Johannes Larsen Museum has acquired Fritz Syberg’s painting, Maritime Scene with Sailing Ships, Storm Approaching from 1906

Enrichment of the Larsen Collection
5. March 2019
Johannes Larsen Museum

A new sketch of a stone marten was donated to the Museum.

New leader: “It’s a privilege”
5. March 2019
Johannes Larsen Museum

New head of department at the Johannes Larsen Museum