Morning Mist, Copenhagen Harbor (1887)

Mølsted, Christian (1862 - 1930)

Morning Mist, Copenhagen Harbor

Oil on Canvas: 20" x 32"
Catalog# MOLC-011

It is dawn and the mariners are starting their day. The rowers, steamers and sailors are all represented in the right foreground of the piece. The waters are calm and rested and reflect the colors of the morning sun.

Mølsted has executed this naval scene in a haze, showing the foggy mists so often present on the Danish waters in the morning. Traders, travelers, fishermen and athletic rowers share the harbor for only a moment as they head out to the open sea.

Copenhagen composes the horizon as it has its own dawn of lanterns scattered throughout the city and along the bridge. The two boats and ship in the center and right foreground approach the viewer, revealing delicate details of ropes, wood, glass, sails and steam.

In this beautiful scene of a new day on the waters, Mølsted executes the piece with contrasting warm colors and soft compositions.

Artist: Christian Ferdinand Andreas Mølsted (1862-1930)

  • Born October 10, 1862 , son of ship builder/craftsman and fisherman Andreas Adolf Nikolaj Mølsted and Ane Hans-Nielsdatter.
  • Married to Ingine Dorothea (Thea) Svendsen.
  • Died May 10, 1930 in Dragør, DK.


  • 1879 - Technical School of Art
  • 1881-85 - Copenhagen Academy Of Art (mentors: Gustaf Vermehren, Jorgen Roed, Julius Exner, Niels Simonsen, Carl Bloch), Graduated January of 1885.


  • 1880 - Onboard the frigate Jutland to England, Madeira and Russia
  • 1882 - Paris, London.

Positions & Appointments:

  • 1904-30 - Member of National Association of Art in Copenhagen


  • 1884 - December exhibit, Charlottenborg
  • 1885-1931 - Charlottenborg. Spring exhibit
  • 1904- 05, 1907-08, 1910 - KE Exhibit
  • 1895 - Nordic Exhibit of Art, Lübeck The Glasgow School of Artists
  • 1895 - Chicago
  • 1931 - Charlottenborg
  • 1942 - Artist Association, November 18
  • 1903,18 - Standing Apart exhibit/National Association of Art in Copenhagen.
  • 1935, 62, 63, 82 - Special exhibition in honor of Christian.Mølsted exhibit.).


  • 1889, 99 - Neuhausens Prize.
  • 1893, 96 - Raben-Levetzau award
  • 1899-1901, 1903-04 - Copenhagen Royal Academy award


Taught and inspired by Dragørs ship makers and artists Peder N. Foss and Henrik Stromberg, Christian Mølsted was predominantly known as a seascape and marine painter. As a young artist, Mølsted was mainly inspired by his home town of Dragør, harbors, and local sea traffic. The opening of the National Museum of Art and History at the Fredericksborg castle was an awakening of sorts for him and many other artists at that time. It was the beginning of his venture into the realm of national marine history. He became a member of the National Association of Art and contributed to the castle’s collection with his now famous painting On board the Neils Juel at the Battle of Helgoland (1864). This was one of the many loved dramatic depictions of Danish historical events contributed to the castle.

Among many of the artist’s favorite subjects were the heroic battles of captains “Thundershield” and “Willemoes”. Historical accuracy, as well as detailed ship information, was provided for the paintings by Otto Dorge, a Dragør local expert. Mølsted saw many commissions from the state of Denmark. Among his numerous famous works is a marine painting used in the official 1922 Danish Christmas stamp.

Christian Mølsted used sketches and/or pastels on paper in preparation for works he would later execute with oils. His mastery of large paintings of grandeur is evident in his surviving works.

Christian Mølsted was universally loved and adored for his tremendous talent and ability to bring things to life with realist techniques and historical detail. Always motivated by perfection and the fact that he was often contributing to Denmark’s National Museum of Art and History, Mølsted created many influential and inspiring works of art not only for his country, but for his followers, and considered the responsibility a great honor.