Interior with a Woman Seen from the Back (1898)
Collection: Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Collection: Tate, London
Interior, Strandgade 30 (1901)
Collection: Städel Museum, Francfort-sur-le-Main
Collection: Musée d’Orsay, Paris
all photographs © 2019 Leslie Hossack
These four interior paintings by Vilhelm Hammershøi were photographed by Leslie Hossack at the exhibition entitled Hammershøi: The Master of Danish Painting, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, 2019. Vilhelm’s wife Ida features in 30 of the 46 Hammershøi interiors that Hossack photographed in museums in Ottawa, Toronto, Copenhagen and Paris. Although we occasionally see Ida’s face, she is usually portrayed from behind.
With the exception of the last image above, Resting (1905), Ida is seen standing in a long black dress, with only the nape of her neck exposed. However, in Resting, it seems she was allowed to change her costume and relax in a chair. In every one of the many interiors where Ida is pictured from behind, Vilhelm’s treatment of the nape of his wife’s neck reveals an exquisite vulnerability.
The images above are quintessential Vilhelm Hammershøi. They commemorate his creative partnership with his wife Ida, and they celebrate the extraordinary interiors that the couple fashioned together.
Haute Vitrine will continue to publish work from Leslie Hossack’s series The Hammershøi Photographs. Upcoming posts will present her images of locations in Copenhagen that featured in Hammershøi’s life and in his paintings.
In addition, Hossack’s photographs of reproductions found in the book Vilhelm Hammershøi, The Artist and His Work, by Sophus Michaëlis and Alfred Bramsen (1918), will be posted on Haute Vitrine. This limited-edition book features 66 tipped in plates. Leslie Hossack wrote: “In keeping with my obsession, I photographed each of these monochromatic reproductions of Hammershøi’s paintings.”
This post on Haute Vitrine marks the last in the current series of Vilhelm Hammershoi’s paintings, as photographed in situ by Leslie Hossack. These photographs are designed to give the experience of viewing his work in a gallery setting. They have not been corrected for any colour cast caused by museum lighting or the reflection of the colour of the paint on the gallery walls. Nor have reflections off the oil paint itself or off the protective glass been corrected, nor shadows on the canvas caused by the frames.
Hammershøi’s oeuvre consists of interiors, architecture, nudes, landscapes and portraits. However, it was his interiors that were the most popular in his lifetime (1864-1916) and continue to draw the strongest response today. Hammershøi painted over 100 interiors in the various apartments he shared with his wife Ida in Copenhagen. Their home was both his studio and a major motif in his work.
Over a century ago, Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi elevated
“Stay At Home. Work At Home.” to an art form.
Leslie Hossack’s Hammershøi Photographs are part of a larger body of work that explores Hitler’s Berlin, Stalin’s Moscow, Mussolini’s Rome, Churchill’s London, contested sites in Jerusalem, the NATO Headquarter Camp in Kosovo, buildings linked to the Japanese Canadian internment during WWII, the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy, the Nazi-occupied Channel Islands, Scotland’s Freemasons and Sigmund Freud’s Vienna.
To view more photographs by Leslie Hossack, please visit lesliehossack.com