The works Peder Severin Krøyer painted in Skagen are characterised by a special harmony of hues and the rendering of atmospheric light effects. Portrayed in the manner of early modern European realism, his coastal landscapes offer top views, presented in sophisticated perspectives, of large water surfaces in front of high horizons. Into these atmospheric settings Krøyer usually incorporated fishermen at the end of the workday or their wives waiting on the beach. He used his numerous quickly painted plein-air studies as a basis for these works.
The 1885 painting Three Fishermen Pulling a Boat shows three fishermen walking behind one another on the south beach of Skagen and jointly pulling a boat through the shallow water near the shore. A fourth fisherman is sitting in the boat and controls the rudder to keep the boat from running onto ground. The monotonous rhythm of the work performed by the three individuals in the foreground is broken up by variations in their postures and clothing. Krøyer’s superb painterly skills are evident in his brilliant mastery of the difficult combination of decreasing image sharpness towards the background and high-contrast areas of shade and light reflections.