Hammershøi: The David Collection, Part 3

1889, Woman Knitting. The Artist's Mother by Leslie HossackWoman Knitting. The Artist’s Mother (1889)
Collection: Davids Samling, Copenhagen

1889-1900, Woman Seated on a White Chair by Leslie HossackWoman Seated on a White Chair, on reverse of above canvas (1899-1900)
Collection: Davids Samling, Copenhagen

1891, Evening in the Drawing Room. Two Women at a Round Table by Leslie HossackEvening in the Drawing Room. Two Women at a Round Table (1891)
Collection: Davids Samling, Copenhagen

1896, Portrait The Artist's Sister Anna (drawn replica) by Leslie HossackPortrait of a Young Girl. The Artist’s Sister Anna, drawn replica (1896)
Collection: Davids Samling, Copenhagen

1892, Double Portrait of the Artist and His Wife, Paris by Leslie HossackDouble Portrait of the Artist and His Wife. Paris (1892)
Collection: Davids Samling, Copenhagen

all photographs © 2019 Leslie Hossack

Vilhelm Hammershøi is best known for his haunting interiors, but his portraits and self-portraits are equally tantalizing. Double Portrait of the Artist and His Wife. Paris (1892), shown immediately above, is an excellent example of both. Not even the best reproduction of this painting can fully prepare the viewer for the visceral experience of actually standing in front of this engaging yet aloof young couple. Their direct gaze is softly unfocused and their enigmatic expressions are benign and beguiling at the same time.

“One feature is found in Vilhelm Hammershøi’s self-portrait as well as virtually all his other portraits: the figures eyes are not turned directly at the observer. They look inward… His portraits are mental images.”
Henrik Wivel, Hammershøi in the David Collection (2017)

Hammershøi painted portraits of family members and friends; he made it clear that he did not wish to paint the portraits of people whom he did not know. His main subjects were his wife Ida, his mother Frederikke, his sister Anna, his brother Svend and his friends and colleagues. The portrait below is of the wife of one of Hammershøi’s acquaintances. As with all images in this series by Leslie Hossack, it was photographed as it appeared on view in the gallery, colour cast, reflections on the glass and all.

1896, Portrait of Thora Bendix by Leslie HossackPortrait of Thora Bendix (1896)
Collection: Davids Samling, Copenhagen

Hammershøi’s oeuvre consists of interiors, landscapes, architecture, nudes and portraits like the six 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