Katherine has researched and written about many British, European and Japanese Artists - both past and present
An introduction to Vilhelm Hammershi (1864-1916)
Vilhelm Hammershoi is a Danish artist who developed a very distinctive style of painting.
This site provides links to information on the internet and in books about Vilhelm Hammershoi including links to where you can see images and read about his work
[Note: His surname contains the letter (a slashed 'o') before the last letter - but this causes problems in software which does not recognise the Danish language]
Vilhelm Hammershi - a life
Vilhelm Hammershi (May 15, 1864 - February 13, 1916) was a nineteenth century Danish painter.
He painted low-key portraits and interiors and his paintings have been characterised as 'poetic'
Hammershi was born in Copenhagen. His parents were Christian Hammershoi and his wife, Frederikke (ne Rentzmann). Hammershi married Ida Ilsted in 1891. She is the woman frequently featured in his paintings with her back to the painter. His sister Anna features as a model in his early paintings. She and he were enthusiastic about having their photographs taken.
In terms of temperament he has been characterised as shy and quiet. Emil Nolde and Rainer Maria Rilke, both remarked on his retiring manner and reluctance to talk.
His art education started at the age of eight when he started to study drawing Neils Christian Kierkegaard and Holger Grnvold, as well as painting with Vilhelm Kyhn. Subsequently his art education was further developed through studies with Frederik Vermehren and others at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. From 1883 to 1885, he studied with Peder Severin Kryer at the Independent Study Schools,
Hammershi worked mainly in his native city of Copenhagen where he mainly painted portraits and interiors. He is most well known and respected for his paintings of interiors. These were often painted in his homes in Copenhagen at
- Strandgade 30 (where he lived with his wife from 1898 to 1909, and
- Strandgade 25 (where they lived from 1913 to 1916).
Interiors are his subject
His interiors feature the everyday. Nothing much happens. They have been described by some as bland. The overall impression of his style is one of coolness, restraint, and quietude.
People find them very peaceful. Others consider them to be melancholic.
Hammershoi's wife figures in many of these interiors, often depicted from behind. Ida is also the model in many similar works by her brother, Peter Ilsted. Peter and Vilhelm were lifelong friends, business partners, and colleagues.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art held an exhibition of their collective works in 2001, and there was an exhibition of his works in 2008 at the Royal Academy, London.
He also painted portraits and landscapes
In terms of portraits, his debut as an artist came at the Charlottenborg Exhibition in the spring of 1885 with Portrait of a Young Girl. This was a portrait of his sister Anna. Pierre Auguste Renoir is reported to have admired this painting.
Hammershoi travelled within Europe and visited London. London at the time had a polluted atmosphere due to coal smoke and was prone to having the foggy atmosphere much liked by Monet. Both his exteriors of grand buildings in Copenhagen and in London (he painted two exteriors of the British Museum between 1905 and 1906) and his landscapes lack figures.
He painted landscapes and studies of architecture and buildings - such as the British Museum. His landscapes of the countryside surrounding Copenhagen typically featured rolling hills, stands of trees, and farm houses.
Technique and Critique
Hammershoi's paintings lack bright colours. He employed a limited palette and focused on the colour of light found in very subtle and muted tones. Many may think of his work as grey but it in fact more of an exercise in coloured greys rather than any monochromatic version.
My personal view is that it is "the face" rather than the figure which is absent from paintings outside the home.
After a trip to Paris, his work became overly detailed. According to art critic Souren Melikian, his "painterly skill remained but the magic was lost."
Hammershi early works, with their simplicity and recording of the "banality of everyday life," enjoyed critical acclaim. He was sought out by artists and literary figures of the time
Hammershi is now one of the most well-known artists in Scandinavia. Comprehensive retrospectives of his work have been organized by the Muse d'Orsay in Paris and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. In 2008, the Royal Academy of Arts in London hosted the first major exhibition in Britain of Hammershi's work, Vilhelm Hammershi: The Poetry of Silence.
In 1997, Denmark issued a postage stamp in his honor. A BBC television documentary, Michael Palin and the Mystery of Hammershoi, was aired in 2005.
text based on Wikipedia article on Vilhelm Hammershi and a number of other articles
Articles about the life of Vilhelm Hammershoi
- Vilhelm Hammershoi, a Danish Artist - Home Page
Vilhelm Hammershoi [Danish Painter, 1864-1916]A Uk based fan site providing information - biography, buy prints and view paintings
- Vilhelm Hammershi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vilhelm Hammershoi (15 May 1864- 13 February 1916)
Hammershi and Europe - by Kasper Monrad
A comprehensive study of the great Danish painter by the Chief Curator at the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. This monograph places Hammershi within the context of his European contemporaries. This generously illustrated volume examines Hammershi's work as a whole and in relation to the artists of his generation.
Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews) | Like (7)
VIDEO: Vilhelm Hammershi - on YouTube
Exhibitions of paintings by Vilhelm Hammershoi
Links to websites relating to exhibitionsof paintings by Vilhelm Hammershoi
The Royal Academy published a number of articles during the course of the 2008 exhibition.
- Vilhelm Hammershi: The Poetry of Silence - Exhibitions - Royal Academy of Arts
The first Vilhelm Hammershi (1864-1916) retrospective in the UK, this exhibition features over 60 paintings spanning the career of this celebrated Danish artist.
- Video: Explore highlights of the exhibition - Vilhelm Hammershi: The Poetry of Silence - Exhibitions
Preview some of the exhibition's highlights with these videos about Vilhelm Hammershi's portraits, interiors and depictions of architecure and landscape.
- Education Guide (PDF file)
Find out more about Vilhelm Hammershi with an introduction to the exhibition for teachers and secondary students.Click here to download the PDF (733 KB)
- Haunted houses - Summer 2008 - RA Magazine - Royal Academy of Arts
Haunted housesVilhelm Hammershi's apparently backward looking paintings of enigmatic interiors were, in fact, modernist in spirit, argues Martin Gayford
- Stilled life - Summer 2008 - RA Magazine - Royal Academy of Arts
Royal Academy of Arts, London.Stilled lifeIan McKeever RA has long found inspiration in the Nordic wilderness, seeking to grasp the spirit, rather than the image, of places and sharing with Hammershi an artistic sensibility in which light and colour
- Northern light - Summer 2008 - RA Magazine - Royal Academy of Arts
Royal Academy of Arts, London.Northern lightIntrigued by Hammershi, Michael Palin set off to follow in the footsteps of this elusive artist. Here, he tells Martin Gayford what sparked off his quest and why the artist still remains a mystery
- Setting the scene - Summer 2008 - RA Magazine - Royal Academy of Arts
Royal Academy of Arts, London.Setting the sceneSet designers for countless stage productions of Henrik Ibsen's plays have looked to Hammershi's paintings for inspiration. Matt Wolf finds out why
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Special Exhibitions: The Age of Impressionism: European Painting fr
The Age of Impressionism: European Painting from the Ordrupgaard Collection, CopenhagenJune 18, 2002-September 8, 2002This exhibition presents some 80 superb paintings-by Degas, Gauguin, Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley, as well as several important Danis
- Interactive graphic: 'Interior with Woman at Piano, Strandgade 30' - Vilhelm Hammershi: The Poetry o
Royal Academy of Arts - Education Department, 2008 Royal Academy of ArtsInteractive graphic - discover aspects of relationhips, composition and mood of the painting
- Current Exhibitions | The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
Vilhelm Hammershi: The Poetry of SilenceDates: September 30 (Tues.) - December 7 (Sun.), 2008
- Vilhelm Hammershoi
Hamburger Kunsthalle shows the first Vilhelm Hammershoi retrospective in Germany.22 March - 29 Juni 2003
- Kunstindeks Danmark & Weilbachs kunstnerleksikon
Vilhelm HammershiWorks by the artist in Danish museumsNumber of artworks: 114
Vilhelm Hammershi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Images of Vilhelm Hammershi - online galleries
There are not a lot of websites where you can find the images of Vilhelm Hammershi online
- Guardian - slideshow of images in the RA exhibition
A rare glimpse into the private life of the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershi at the Royal Academy"A minor star during his lifetime, the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershi (1864-1916) faded from view during the middle years of the 20th century, only to
- Category:Vilhelm Hammershi - Wikimedia Commons
Category:Vilhelm Hammershi From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
- Artcyclopedia - Vilhelm Hammershoi Online
ArtcyclopediaVilhelm Hammershoi [Danish Painter, 1864-1916] Guide to pictures of works by Vilhelm Hammershoi in art museum sites and image archives worldwide.
- ARC :: Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916) :: Page 1 of 1
Vilhelm Hammershoi (b.1864-d.1916). Art-works featured on this page include: A Lady Reading In An Interior,A Woman Reading By A Window,Interior, Strandgade
- BBC - Your Paintings - Vilhelm Hammershi
Explore the paintings of Vilhelm Hammershi in the National Collection and find out where you can see them...
BOOKS: Vilhelm Hammershi - books on Amazon
There are very few books about Vilhelm Hammershoi - and, as a result, those volumes which are available can command tremendous prices
VIDEO: A fan appreciates Vilhelm Hammershi - on YouTube
BOOK: Danish Art - book on Amazon
Images by Vilhelm Hammershoi in Museums and Art Galleries
Museums and Art Galleries where you can see the paintings of Vilhelm Hammershi
- Hammershoi - Portrait of a Young Girl
Portrait of a Young GirlThe following text is an extract of the book: Heinrich Hirschsprung. Art collector and patron, (Copenhagen 2002), by director Marianne Saabye1896: Hammershi's quiet sister and the revolt in Danish art
- Musee d'Orsay - Hammerschoi
Two paintings by Hammerschoi
- Vilhelm Hammershoi: Interior with Young Man Reading. 1898
Vilhelm Hammershoi: Interior with Young Man Reading. 1898Vilhelm Hammershoi's (1864-1916) images are subdued, often depicting everyday situations with no real action taking place. Even so, we sense in his interiors, architectural paintings, and figur
- New Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
New Carlsberg Glyptotek, CopenhagenStreet in London 1906Oil on canvas, 58.5 x 65.5 cm
- MFA Boston: Vilhelm Hammershi
Woman in an Interior 1900-09Vilhelm Hammershi, Danish, 1864-191657.1 x 62.2 cm (22 1/2 x 24 1/2 in.)Oil on canvas
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Special Exhibitions
Dust Motes Dancing in the Sunlight, Interior of the Artist's Home, 1900Vilhelm Hammershoi (Danish, 1864-1916)Oil on canvas; 27 5/8 x 23 1/2 in. (70.2 x 59.7 cm)Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen
- Stdel Museum acquires Vilhelm Hammershi's Interior. Strandgade 30 (1901)
Vilhelm Hammershi (Copenhagen 1864-1916 Copenhagen), Interior. Strandgade 30, 1901. Oil on canvas, 66 55 cm. Acquired in 2012. Property of Stdelscher Museums-Vereins e. V. Stdel Museum, Frankfurt am Main.
Images by Vilhelm Hammershoi at Auction
- Artdaily.org | Two signature interiors by Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershi at Sotheby's in London thi
Vilhelm Hammershi is to cement further his international reputation with Sotheby’s sale of Interior with Stove and Ida in an Interior with Piano in London on 23 May 2013.
- Essential Vermeer Time - VERMEER’S GHOST April 16th, 2013
Perhaps, Vermeer’s only legacy in modern times in the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershi (1864 –1916) whose Ida in an Interior with Piano, (1901) will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s on 23 May 2013.
Reviews of Vilhelm Hammershi
Articles about Vilhelm Hammershi and reviews of his art
- Palin's Travels: Read Messages
Vilhelm Hammershoi - World of Interiors by Michael Palin on 12 July 2005 12:23pm
- Vilhelm Hammershoi: Denmark's painter of solitude and light | Scandinavian Review | Find Articles at
Vilhelm Hammershoi: Denmarks painter of solitude and light from Scandinavian Review in Reference provided free by Find Articles.
- The Guardian - Vilhelm Hammershi
Jonathan Jones, The Guardian,Friday July 11 2008The texture of Vilhelm Hammershi's paintings is what starts you thinking. Pictures like this should not be painted in the way he paints them. This Danish artist who died in 1916 depicted, again and agai
- The Guardian - Vilhelm Hammershi - review by Maev Kennedy
Vilhelm Hammershi's haunting interiors have been rediscovered as masterpieces of Danish art. As a Royal Academy retrospective opens, Maev Kennedy seeks the man behind the silence
- Making a Mark: Vilhelm Hammershi - a curious mix of Vermeer, Hopper and Wyeth?
I went to see Vilhelm Hammershi - The Poetry of Silence last week at the Royal Academy of Arts. This is the first Vilhelm Hammershi (1864-1916) retrospective in the UK and the exhibition features over 70 paintings spanning the career of this celebrat
- Spotlight: Hammershoi’s Apartment
Compares Danish artist Wilhelm Hammershoi's paintings of his apartments in Copenhagen to work by Vermeer and Hopper
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Katherine Tyrrell (author) from London on October 01, 2008:
You can find a comment in the RA exhibition website For example:"Hammershøi revered Whistler, whom he tried – uharacteristically in vain – to visit in London in 1898 (Whistler was in Paris at the time). Many a Hammershøi could have been entitled, in Whistler style, Harmony in Grey and Black. But there is another point here: Hammershøi’s treatment of colour was a strategy of reduction – reducing its range to increase its intensity and controllability. And reduction, in all sorts of ways, is a distinctively modernist strategy – pithily encapsulated by the architect Mies van der Rohe’s slogan ‘less is more’."
anonymous on September 26, 2008:
I would like to know how Whislter inflenced Hammershoi's work.