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Vilhelm Hammershøi

Even by the time he first exhibited at Charlottenborg in 1885 with his Portrait of a Girl (The Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen), Vilhelm Hammershøi, 1864-1916, had already discovered the manner of expression which was to be characteristic of his artistic production in the future: a severe architectural composition and a narrow range of colours entirely dominated by shades of grey.

Vilhelm HammershøiThroughout his life he was preoccupied with a strictly limited circle of motifs encompassing interiors from his home, portraits of his family and friends, and architecture and landscape paintings.

Light and air are of central importance in Hammershøi's paintings, often assuming an almost physical consistency.

He is best known for his many interiors portraying simple and sparsely furnished rooms. They are often devoid of human figures, but in many there is an isolated female figure, usually stationary and with her face turned away.

In the 1890s Hammershøi executed a number of architecture paintings, especially of Amalienborg and Christiansborg Palace, both of which are shrouded in a light mist like that in his Zealand landscapes.

Hammershøi's stylish and delicately shaded paintings assumed an isolated position in relation to the predominantly naturalistic Danish art of the day. In 1891 he was one of those helping to establish Den Frie Udstilling.


Vibeke Skov, Gyldendal Leksikon

Other Great Danes

The lives and achievements of all these Great Danes and many more are outlined in biographies of varying lengths on these pages. Read more about The Great Danes