Hammershøi: The Hirschsprung Collection, Part 1

1885, Portrait of a Young Woman, the Artist's Sister Anna by Leslie HossackPortrait of a Young Woman, the Artist’s Sister Anna (1885)
Collection: Den Hirschsprungske Samling, Copenhagen

1885, An Old Woman Standing by a Window by Leslie HossackAn Old Woman Standing by a Window (1885)
Collection: Den Hirschsprungske Samling, Copenhagen

1886, An Old Woman Sitting by Leslie HossackAn Old Woman Sitting (1886)
Collection: Den Hirschsprungske Samling, Copenhagen

1889, Maleren Kristian Zahrmann, The Painter Kristian Zahrmann by Leslie HossackMaleren Kristian Zahrmann, The Painter Kristian Zahrmann (1889)
Collection: Den Hirschsprungske Samling, Copenhagen

1901, Daniel Jacobson Salter by Leslie HossackDaniel Jacobson Salter (1901)
Collection: Den Hirschsprungske Samling, Copenhagen

all photographs © 2019 Leslie Hossack

Leslie Hossack has photographed 100 works by Vilhelm Hammershøi in Copenhagen, Paris, Toronto and Ottawa. The five portraits seen above hang in the Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen.

Hammershøi is best known for his muted domestic interiors; he is the master painter of the poetry of the ordinary. Gallery-goers who are willing to slow down and spend as much time with his portraits as they do with his interiors will discover they are equally complex and rewarding.

“Hammershøi is not one of those whom it is necessary to speak [of] quickly. His work is long and slow and at whatever moment one grasps it, it will always give ample opportunity to speak about what is important and essential in art.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to Alfred Bramsen, 10 November 1905

After studying Hammershøi over an extended period of time, Hossack wrote: “I saw my work when I looked at his work. His paintings and my photographs spoke the same visual language. In his interiors, I saw my images; in his portraits, I saw myself.”

Hammershøi painted portraits of family members and friends; he did not wish to paint portraits of people whom he did not know. His main subjects were his wife Ida, his mother Frederikke, his brother Svend and his sister Anna. Anna’s portrait is seen at the top of this post. In addition, Hammershøi painted his colleagues, including Kristian Zahrmann and Daniel Salter whose images appear above.

Hammershøi’s oeuvre consists of interiors, landscapes, architecture, nudes and portraits like the five shown above. But 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

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