Hammershøi: David Collection, Part 1

by Leslie Hossack

1903, Room with a View of the External Gallery. Strandgade 30 by Leslie HossackRoom with a View of the External Gallery. Strandgade 30 (1903)
Collection: Davids Samling, Copenhagen

1905, Open Doors. Strandgade 30 by Leslie HossackOpen Doors. Strandgade 30 (1905)
Collection: Davids Samling, Copenhagen

1906, Sitting Room. Study in Sunlight. Strandgade 30 by leslie HossackSitting Room. Study in Sunlight. Strandgade 30 (1906)
Collection: Davids Samling, Copenhagen

all photographs © 2019 Leslie Hossack

After months of researching Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi, Leslie Hossack travelled to Copenhagen to view his paintings as they were meant to be seen – framed and hanging on a wall.

Hossack photographed works by Hammershøi in three galleries in Copenhagen, as well as Paris, Ottawa and Toronto. It is important to note that the 100 images she created are not colour corrected; rather, they reflect the actual viewing conditions encountered in each gallery. For example, the Hammershøi paintings in the David Collection are in a room with coral coloured walls. Thus the photographs above have a red cast to them.

Hammershøi’s works, particularly his interiors, are known for their lack of colour. But in reality, his muted grays reward the gallery-goer with a tantalizing range of luminous colours, as can be seen in the images above.

“The artist developed into a value painter, in whose work each gray tone contains an undercoat of red, brown, green and blue, for example, but whose overall expression is gray.”

Henrik Wivel, Hammershøi in the David Collection (2017)

Above we see the interior of the apartment at Strandgade 30 where Vilhelm and his wife Ida lived from 1898 to 1909. Characteristically, the sparse rooms are staged and devoid of people.

Hammershøi’s oeuvre consists of portraits, nudes, landscapes, architecture and interiors, but it is his interiors, like the three shown above, 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