Sunshine in the Drawing Room, III, Strandgade 30 (1903)
Collection: Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Intérieur, Strandgade 30 (1904)
Collection: Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Interior, Sunlight on the Floor (1906)
Collection: Tate, London
Interior with Potted Plant, Bredgade 25 (1910-1911)
Collection: Konstmuseum, Malmö
all photographs © 2019 Leslie Hossack
Shown above are four interior paintings by Vilhelm Hammershøi that were photographed by Leslie Hossack at the exhibition entitled Hammershøi: The Master of Danish Painting, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, 2019. Of the 46 Hammershøi interiors Hossack photographed in museums in Ottawa, Toronto, Copenhagen and Paris, 30 contained a female figure and 16 did not. The woman was always Vilhelm’s wife Ida, but she is absent from each the paintings above.
Hammershøi’s signature motif was the interior of the various Copenhagen apartments he shared with Ida, particularly Strandgade 30. Before moving in, they had the mouldings and woodwork painted white, the walls and ceilings painted grey, and the floor stained a dark colour.
“I’ve mostly painted interiors… How did I get involved in that?… It’s difficult to say. It came entirely by itself. And then it is modern now, everybody wants interiors, nowadays they almost won’t have anything else…”
Hammershøi, quoted by Carl Christian Clausen, 1907, cited by Felix Krämer in “Vilhelm Hammershoi, Interior, Strandgade 30,” At Home with Hammershøi, Ordrupgaard (2018)
After viewing 46 Hammershoi interiors, Leslie Hossack described them as: muted, poetic, haunting, charged, empty, silent, still, quiet, disquieting, calm, monochromatic, unsettling, soothing, subdued, tranquil, seductive, subversive, intimate, psychological, complex, allegorical, visceral, sparse, spartan, staged, disturbing, melancholic, captivating, distilled, gray, uncluttered, introverted, narcissistic, enchanting, engaging, nostalgic and contemporary.
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