17 May 2016

Hammershoi Sightings

Exactly one hundred years after his death,  a new window is opening onto the work of the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi(1864-1916).

Terence Davies, the preeminent living  British director has been looking at Hammershoi's interiors for inspiration and the results appear in his current release Sunset Song and the forthcoming A Quiet Passion. Two paintings that I can discern from looking at Davies film stills are Interior With Tall Windows (1911) and Interior Strandgade (1915)

Exhibitions devoted to Hammeshoi's  work in North America have been long in coming.  The first, Painter of Solitude and Light, held at the Guggenheim Museum in 1997, was jointly organized by the Ordupgaard, Copenhagen and the Musee d'Orsay, Paris.   Eleven years later in 2008  the National Gallery in London debuted Vilhelm Hammershoi: The Poetry of Silence, an exhibition which then traveled to the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo.  Then in the fall of 2015 Scandinavia House in New York hosted  Painting Tranquility: Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershoi, an exhibition drawn from the collection of the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK).   And now, to celebrate their acquisition of a painting by Hammershoi, the National Gallery of Ontario is presenting that exhibition, a first for Canada.
Interior With Four Etchings features Ida Hammershoi and some familiar items from their home, the blue and white Delftware soup tureen, the ladder back chair with a blue upholstered seat, the dining room console and the enumerated etchings.  We know from photographs  that the Hammershois had an extensive art collection, hung salon style in their apartments. One thing is new, and that is Ida has had her hair cut.

I've written about Hammershoi - a lot. You can check them out.
A New Bridge For Old Christianhavn

 Hammershoi Moves the Furniture

Strandage Marienbad: Hammershoi & Alain Resnais

Hammershoi: Where Light Comes From
 A Summer Landscape

Vilhlem Hammershoi - Interior With Tall Windows, 1913, Ordrupgaard Museum, Copenhagen.
Vilhelm Hammershoi -  Interior With Four Etchings, 1905, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Vilhelm Hammershoi - Strandgade Interior, 1915, Ordrupgaard Museum, Copenhagen.


Hels said...

You said in a much earlier post that the convention of posing a woman with her back to the viewer was already an established formal convention in painting by the time Hammershoi employed it. I agree. And re the top painting, I also suspect there was a convention of solitary women, in a domestic interior, staring out via a window at the world outside. All his paintings were a bit solitary and a bit wistful.

"Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century" was written by Sabine Rewald for NY's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Great link, thank you.

Jane Librizzi said...

Hels, I think the "wistful" is something we bring to the painting - and nothing wrong about that. That is one of Hammershoi's attractions: he either withholds clues from the viewer or they are so subtle we cannot pick them up. An underrated artist may finally get the audience he deserves.