Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hammershoi, Vilhelm

Interior of Woman Placing Branches in a Vase on Table
oil on canvas
40.3 x 39.7 cm
The Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Danish Art Collection

Vilhelm Hammershoi, in English Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864 - 1916), was a Danish painter. He is known for his poetic, low-key paintings. He painted portraits, landscapes and many room interiors which frequently contained a single figure that was seated or standing. He married Ida in 1891 and she provided the inspiration for many of his future works and is often the lone figure seen in his paintings. They lived a quiet life, apart from Ida's reported fiery temperament, and had no children.

Hammershoi worked mainly in his native city Copenhagen. They also often travelled together throughout Europe. They journeyed to the surrounding countryside and locations beyond, where he painted rolling hills, stands of trees, farm houses, and other landscapes. Later in his life he lived in the old merchant house in Copenhagen with his wife, and he painted the interior of this house more than sixty times. He died of throat cancer in 1916 in Copenhagen at the age of 52.

He is now one of the best-known artists in Scandinavia, and comprehensive retrospectives of his work have been organized by the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.