Although in the 1830s and 1840s artists such as Martinus Rørbye and the marine painters Vilhelm and Fritz Melbye had been to Skagen, on the northernmost peninsular of Denmark, it was not until the 1870s, with the rise of nationalism and the rejection of the academic and foreign Düsseldorf school, that Danish artists set up a colony there. It was to become the most important artistic colony in Scandinavia. Krøyer first visited Skagen in 1882 at the invitation of Michael Ancher and was to spend a few months there every summer, becoming one of the leading figures in the colony and the co-founder of the Skagens Museum.
Already a celebrated painter of light and colour, and displaying as early as the 1880s the influence of contemporary Parisian artistic trends, Krøyer's art was transformed by the atmosphere of Skagen and the immediacy of the sea and the sky. As the present work demonstrates, Krøyer was less interested than Ancher in the daily life of the inhabitants, instead concentrating on preserving the mood of Skagen and the carefree moments of festivity that the Summer afforded.
A Summer's day at Skagen South beach is inscribed to the Dutch painter Willy Martens (1856-1927), who, like Krøyer, studied under Léon Bonnat in Paris. The three boys splashing in the shallows can be seen as the central motif of the monumental picture of the same title of 1884 in the Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen.