He is on par with Monk. Now the Hammershøi painting worth NOK 75 million will go to Lillehammer

He is on par with Monk.  Now the Hammershøi painting worth NOK 75 million will go to Lillehammer

The Danish artist Wilhelm Hammershøy (1864 – 1916) is one of the few Scandinavian artists to achieve such high prices on the art market.

The Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøy (1864 – 1916) is particularly famous for his interior portraits.  The figure will be displayed

The short version

The figure “Interior with easel, Briggade 25” from 1910 will now be on permanent display at the Lillehammer Art Museum.

The painting was purchased privately by Sparebankstiftelsen DNB through Sotheby's in London.

Aftenposten newspaper understands that the price was about 75 million Norwegian kroner.

The painting was scheduled to be auctioned at the end of June, but the seller had a strong desire for it to end up in a museum.

– So the seller withdrew it from the auction and chose to sell it directly to the foundation, says curator and art historian Oda Wildhagen Gissing at Sparebankstiftelsen DNB.

In keeping with Monk

Oda Wildhagen Gjessing points out that Wilhelm Hammershøi, along with Edvard Munch, is among the leading and most important Scandinavian artists. His place in international art history has been particularly strengthened over the past decades. It is represented in central collections and museums around the world.

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The price record for a Hammershui work was set six years ago. Then a painting with a similar theme, “Interior, Music Room, Strandgade 30”, was sold for approx. 100 million Norwegian krone at a Sotheby's auction. The painting was purchased by the Art Institute of Chicago Museum.

Gissing believes that the figure “Interior with easel, Bridgade 25” is a typical example of the pictures he painted when he lived in Bridgade in central Copenhagen in 1910-1913.

The image contains all the qualities that the artist associates with it: subtle,
An almost monochromatic color palette, which ranges from quite light, gray and white to a more muted and warmer value, towards cooler shades of gray in the shadows.

– The composition is strict and classic, and gives the impression of silence and calm, says Gissing.

At the same time, the art historian describes the picture as “a harsh, dry, abstract painting, which in today's eyes seems very modern.”

– Great for the audience

Director Nils Olsen at the Lillehammer Art Museum is proud and happy:

“This is very exciting for the public,” says Olsen, who was previously a department director at the National Museum.

He took up the director's position at Lillehammer in 2018. He then began collaborating with Sparebankstiftelsen DNB to build a collection of Scandinavian art from the end of the 19th century to a bit of the 20th century.

The museum contains a lot of Norwegian art, but very little art from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

-We wanted to showcase more Scandinavian art, since we have a shared artistic history. And we wanted the works we showed to say something about all of art. This photo of Hammershoy does just that. It's quite typical of his interior images, says Olsen.

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an idea

– It is not a poetic poem in Hammershoy

Olsen mentions several Scandinavian artists who focused on interior decoration, such as the Norwegian Harriet Bakker and the Danish Anna Ancher.

But the beauty you find in Ansher, Larsson and Bakker, you won't find in Hammershui, says Olsen.

He places Hammershøi more in line with Edvard Munch and with the literary references of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

– Home can be scary. It can be very cold and stuffy. We see a kind of frozen interior. Olsen says Hammershøi psychologizes space in a very different way than many other artists of the time.

It recalls Edvard Munch's famous interior design “Night in Saint-Cloud” from 1890, which belongs to the National Museum. The picture has the same somewhat gloomy atmosphere as many of Hammershøi's interiors.

The famous interior idea of ​​Edvard Munch
Ashura Okorie

Ashura Okorie

"Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert."

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