The apartment at Strandgade 30 was the scenery of infinite inspiration for Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi. Whilst living here, he created the paintings which were to become an important part of Danish art, design and architecture in many years to come. The exhibition At Home with Hammershøi offers a unique chance to explore the environment where some of the most famous artworks in Danish art history were created.
Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) is regarded as one of the most original talents of his time, and his work still greatly appeals to today’s viewer. He is known for his poetic, evocative and understated interior paintings in which light and time seem to stand still.
The name ‘Hammershøi’ is inextricably linked with Strandgade 30 – the apartment in Christianshavn where the artist lived with his wife from 1898 to 1909, and where he developed into the masterful painter of interiors that we know today.
The painter who lived in his motif
In Christianshavn, Vilhelm Hammershøi chose to live with off-white walls, light wood and a few pieces of fine furniture, in silent protest against the overcrowded Victorian style. Here, he lived and painted. He had no studio but worked at home, where the light of the apartment, its lines and interior, was an inspiration to him – indeed, almost an obsession. Time and again he depicted the windows and white doors while chairs, tables and his wife Ida, with her back turned, also served as motifs. He constantly rearranged the furniture to create variation in the rooms, and to find a balance between space and surfaces.
An undomestic home
Although Hammershøi painted his home, his paintings, contrary to the trend of the time, did not concern themselves with the joys of domesticity. We are not invited into the artist’s daily life. On the contrary, the subtle shades of grey evoke enigmatic spaces where loneliness and emptiness prevail. Time stands still, and another, almost unreal, world opens up for us. Something existential is at stake here, while the simplified geometric structures point forwards in time to the advent of modernism.
The first exhibition about Strandgade 30
This is the first time an exhibition focuses solely on Strandgade 30 and on the significance of this location for Hammershøi’s artistic practice – despite the fact that it is undoubtedly through these interior paintings that Hammershøi established himself as one of the greatest Danish artists. He also painted in earlier and later residences but Strandgade 30 was where his best works were initiated as well as it was here the essence of his aesthetics was developed.
Rarely seen works by Hammershøi
With the exhibition, At Home with Hammershøi, Ordrupgaard is marking the centenary of the artist’s death. Several of the exhibited paintings have been brought to Denmark from abroad and have not been shown for many years. The exhibition continues Ordrupgaard’s series of exhibitions on major Nordic and French artists from the turn of the nineteenth century, including Friction of Ideas: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Bernard and Matisse and the Eskimos. It can be seen from 4 March to 7 August.
Keen to explore more Hammershøi, visit The David Collection! From the 1st of March to the 7th of August The David Collection is showing the exhibition Hammershøi -Lending and Borrowing.