The Portrait Society | Vilhelm Hammershøi

04/08/1997 | 20th centuryCharcoal and acrylic on canvas50 x 40 cm

Vilhelm Hammershøi was a Danish painter and a representative of Symbolism. He received drawing lessons from the age of eight and, in 1879, he embarked on studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art. At the same time, he studied at an independent art school. In 1885, he exhibited for the first time one of his works and travelled through Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in the following years. In 1889, four of his works were shown at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. Hammershøi married in 1891 and left for Paris with his wife on his wedding day. They stayed there for more than a year. During this time, Hammershøi made important contacts with art dealers and critics. In the years that followed, Hammershøi repeatedly spent longer periods abroad, including in Italy and London. In many of his paintings, however, he immortalised his home in Copenhagen. Hammershøi's almost monochrome, quiet interiors and his bare, purist landscapes became his trademark. Rainer Maria Rilke met Hammershøi in 1904 and wrote about the encounter: "I will see him again without speaking to him, since he speaks only Danish and understands very little German. One has the feeling that all he does is paint, and that this is all he is able or willing to do ."

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