Influencing Me – Vilhelm Hammershøi

Influencing Me - Vilhelm Hammershøi

There are so many artists that have had an influencing effect on me and Vilhelm Hammershøi is among them. He was a Danish painter.

Influencing Me - Vilhelm Hammershøi

Influencing Me – Vilhelm Hammershøi

I was first introduced to Vilhelm Hammershøi when I was doing my Fine Arts degree. One of the guys who worked at the Uni told me about him.

It is fair to say that I fell in love with his work. There is something about it that I find so appealing.

Who was he?

I have some information here from Wikipedia, you can find more there.

Vilhelm Hammershøi (15 May 1864 – 13 February 1916), was a Danish painter. He is known for his poetic, subdued portraits and interiors.

Vilhelm Hammershøi was born in 1864 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The son of a well-to-do merchant, Christian Hammershøi, and his wife, Frederikke (née Rentzmann), Hammershøi studied drawing from the age of eight with Niels Christian Kierkegaard and Holger Grønvold, as well as painting with Vilhelm Kyhn, before embarking on studies with Frederik Vermehren and others at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. From 1883 to 1885, he studied with Peder Severin Krøyer at the Independent Study Schools, then debuted in the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition in 1885 with Portrait of a Young Girl (his sister, Anna; Pierre-Auguste Renoir is reported to have admired this painting). Hammershøi married Ida Ilsted in 1891.

Hammershøi’s paintings are best described as muted in tone. He refrained from employing bright colours (except in his very early academic works), opting always for a limited palette consisting of greys, as well as desaturated yellows, greens, and other dark hues. His tableaux of figures turned away from the viewer project an air of slight tension and mystery, while his exteriors of grand buildings in Copenhagen and in London (he painted two exteriors of the British Museum between 1905 and 1906) are devoid of people, a quality they share with his landscapes.

His paintings

There is something very quiet about his work. The way many of his paintings have the woman with her back to us is like we are being kept out. It isn’t a closed door, but it could be representative of that.

The limited palette is also very interesting, especially for that time. This is something that can also be applied to photographs.

I have a selection of his works to show you.

The BBC also did a program on him with Michael Palin which I found on YouTube for you. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I have.

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  1. A truly very inspiring artist, I think I’ve never heard of him. Thank you for sharing, Leanne. The video is very very interesting, but because of it’s lengths I made it only through a third, some time later I will watch the entire piece.

  2. This was fascinating, Leanne–I watched the entire program and loved it. Such a quietness about him, that makes me want to be satisfied what he has to offer and not pry.

  3. I’m also a fan of Hammershøi. We saw his work in person when we were in Copenhagen a couple of years ago…mesmerising.

    1. I wonder if I saw some when I was there, but didn’t realise it. We did go to a couple of galleries when we were living there. I’m glad you got to see them Ardys.

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