Hammershøi: National Gallery of Denmark Part 5

by Leslie Hossack

91 1911, Self Portrait, the Cottage Spurveskjul by Leslie HossackSelf Portrait, the Cottage Spurveskjul (1911)
Collection: Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

all photographs © 2019 Leslie Hossack

Self Portrait, the Cottage Spurveskjul (1911) is one of several self portraits painted by Vilhelm Hammershøi. In this composition, we clearly see the artist’s face, his paint brush and his surroundings. Filling the negative space is an open cottage door whose glass panes reflect yet another window in the room. It is interesting that this exterior door is open whereas many of Hammershøi’s interior paintings feature closed doors that appear to be inoperable.

Felix Kramer, Director General of the Kunstpalast in Dusseldorf, compares doors in Vilhelm Hammershøi’s interiors to the door in a print by Robert Longo entitled Interior Apartment Front Door with Bars (The Freud Cycle), 2004 (Galerie Michael Haas).

The print shows the hermetically sealed door at the Viennese psychiatrist’s and, not altogether by coincidence, recalls Hammershøi’s works.

Felix Kramer, “Vilhelm Hammershøi. Interior, Strandgade 30,”
At Home with Hammershøi, Ordrupgaard (2016)

Nor is it altogether by coincidence that Leslie Hossack’s series The Freud Photographs includes an image of that very same door. Barred Door in Vestibule, Freud’s Office, Berggasse 19, Vienna (2016) appears below.

Hossack commented: “When researching and photographing Freud’s Vienna and Hammershøi’s Copenhagen, and the life’s work of these two individuals, many similarities became apparent.”

Viewing Leslie Hossack’s Freud Photographs and Hammershøi Photographs in tandem, highlights the interiority of these men and their oeuvre. 

Barred Door in Vestibule, Freud’s Office, Berggasse 19, Vienna 2016 by Leslie HossackBarred Door in Vestibule, Freud’s Office, Berggasse 19, Vienna (2016), Leslie Hossack
Collection: Private Collection

Hammershøi’s oeuvre consists of architecture, portraits, landscapes, nudes and interiors. 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