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Influencing Me – Vilhelm Hammershøi

Interior-Strandgade 30

For today’s post, I went through a lot of different things before deciding what to show.  I haven’t had a chance to find any WordPress photographers, and do have a successful photographer to show you next week, but it left me kind of high and dry this week.  I thought I could show you some paintings from the Renaissance Period, but it was looking more like a history lesson, I felt the same about looking at the history of Photography.  Then I remembered an artist that I have loved for quite some time, Vilhelm Hammershøi.

631px-Vilhelm_Hammershøi,_by_Vilhelm_Hammershøi

I was first introduced to his work by our technician at the VCA.  He brought in a book for me to look at on the artist.  Hammershøi was a Danish artist, and lived between 1864 and 1916 in Copenhagen.  He is most famous for interior paintings, many, I believe, painted in his home.

hammershoi4There is a quietness to them, and they seem so still.  It was a revelation, I think, for me at the time, because I felt my own work was very still and quiet, I worried that people would think my work was very boring.  It gave me hope seeing Hammershøi’s work, that perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing.

Interior-Strandgade 30Then there is the lone figure that sits or stands in many of his images.  Her back is nearly always turned to you.  I don’t know why she is always facing away, I don’t know that it matters, but it does add something really interesting to the images.  The woman was his wife Ida, and I thought perhaps she didn’t want her face painted.

idaThen I found this image of her, so I don’t really know why.  It is a great idea and I like how you don’t see her face in many of the images, it does add to the mysterious of the images.

interiorI also think that we often spend too much time on the face, and with these images, you are forced to look elsewhere as well, that the interior is just as important as the model in them, perhaps more so.

Landscape in the SnowAs I was looking for his work on the internet it was wonderful for me to discover that he did do other sorts of images and there are many landscape paintings and other paintings of streets and buildings, of both where he lived and where he traveled.

One of the things that I love about his work is how he loved to paint what he saw in front of him, or around him, his home.  I have spoken about other artists who have done the same, the other person who comes to mind is Margaret Olley, though Hammershøi paints of an uncluttered world, and a simple muted world in comparison.  I always think I should do the same in my own home, but my home is not suited. I need to do some painting, I painted my walls some very bright colours a few years ago, and I need to change them.

It seems appropriate to be doing a post on Hammershøi right now as I prepare for a week where I will be mainly stuck indoors trying to avoid the heat.  I have some more images for you to see and will put them in a gallery, after it I will add some links so if you would like to learn more about him you can.

Michael Palin has a small video that you can look at it if you would like to see Hammershøi’s Copenhagen, Michael Palin and the Mystery of Hammershoi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilhelm_Hammersh%C3%B8i

http://www.hammershoi.co.uk/

http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/list.php?m=a&s=tu&aid=2536

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91 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks so much for posting this Leanne – I love his pallet – it is something I have not mastered, getting the color the way I want it in my photos.

    January 13, 2014
    • You are very welcome Christian, I don’t know why I haven’t done a post on him before. I love all that too.

      January 13, 2014
  2. I love, love this. Thank you for posting this. He is one of my favorites as well. There is a novel in every painting, and the light is gorgeous. His work is so true.

    January 13, 2014
    • Pleasure, I think it was time I covered his work and did a post on him. We can learn a lot from him.

      January 13, 2014
  3. I’ve never heard of this artist but I love the work! The interiors are especially beautiful–some of them make me think of the work by American artist Andrew Wyeth. I think, when he uses a model with her face hidden, it also allows the model to become a sort of “everywoman” in her home and makes us think of the relationship of women, in general, and domestic spaces.

    January 13, 2014
    • That is wonderful to hear Kerry, glad you like his work. I like what you have said about the model, there doesn’t seem to be much written on it. I think he loved Whistler, and was a huge fan, which also explains the portrait of his mother.

      January 13, 2014
  4. I love painted interiors! I like his landscapes too. He almost has a feel of Edward Hopper, the isolated human in his own manmade landscape.

    Often painters would face a human subject away from the viewer so you would not focus on them but also study the rest of the painting. Also, if the space itself was the subject. People like to look at people.

    January 13, 2014
    • Perhaps Hopper was influence by him, though I think Hopper’s work has more a sense of the dramatic, which I love too.
      I agree about the human subject, and it is very interesting. People do like to look at people. :)

      January 13, 2014
  5. Thanks for introducing me to this artist…absolutely amazing paintings. The light, the atmosphere…everything. Truly fantastic!

    January 13, 2014
    • I am so glad you enjoy it, that is all the thanks I need. They are truly fantastic.

      January 13, 2014
  6. zenschoolforcreatives #

    Thank you for posting Leanne. Hammershoi’s work has influenced me greatly. Edvard Munch did a painting of a girl with her back to the viewer too. It, as does Hammershoi’s work evokes a sense of mystery and emotionalism and this is what I am trying to do. I had not heard of him before, so thank you again!

    January 13, 2014
    • You are welcome, great to see how many people like his work. It is interesting the whole model with her back to the viewer.

      January 13, 2014
  7. This guy is good! Thanks for the intro Leanne.

    January 13, 2014
  8. Hello, Leanne. These are beautiful very personal paintings. He uses a lot of shadow and light which gives mystery with the faceless woman. I am not an artist but I love the paints, brushes, canvases. I look forward to learning more.

    January 13, 2014
    • That is wonderful, I am so glad to hear you like them. He is a great painter.

      January 13, 2014
  9. These pictures are fascinating. The windows and doors invoke mystery and intrigue.

    January 13, 2014
    • They do Sheryl, they are very intriguing, glad you like him.

      January 13, 2014
  10. Interesting to see that an Old Master is your inspiration Leanne.

    January 13, 2014
    • I have a few Colline, I like what they did, and think I can learn a lot from them.

      January 13, 2014
  11. Wow! amazing art work here. I am not a huge art fan, but I like art not that I am talented myself in any way, but this work was not boring at all very interesting and not dark at all I would say it is intriguing. Reminds me of Van Gogh interior paintings with less vibrant colouring? Just my opinion :)

    January 13, 2014
    • That is a great response, I don’t think you have to be an artist or knowledgeable about art to appreciate it. I like your opinion, thank you for sharing it.

      January 13, 2014
  12. I also like the lady with her back to us very mysterious

    January 13, 2014
    • I do as well, something very intriguing about her.

      January 13, 2014
  13. I like his work a lot but I’m not sure why. It’s like when you sit quietly thinking and watch your loved ones with affection who are just getting on with daily things -perhaps.

    January 13, 2014
    • I like that, that is really interesting and a great observation. Thank you for sharing it.

      January 13, 2014
  14. My LIKE button doesn’t work, so from now on, if you see :-) count it as a like! :-)

    January 13, 2014
    • I will Darla, it is a great way of liking it. Yeah, not sure what is happening with WordPress, I have heard other people saying similar things.

      January 13, 2014
      • I’ve had problems this whole past year. I’ve got most of them ironed out, but the Like button won’t work at all. :-(

        January 17, 2014
      • That is so strange, is it just my blog or lots of them?

        January 17, 2014
      • It is all of them. It happened about the time that I was having problems commenting. I can now comment, but cannot LIKE. Oh well.

        January 27, 2014
      • It is so weird, have you spoken to WordPress about it?

        January 27, 2014
      • I’ve left messages; can you actually speak to a real person? All I’ve found is an email work order.

        February 9, 2014
      • I don’t know if you can call, I have no idea. Not an option for me, so I have never looked into it. They can be weird and annoying, that way. I sent a question the other day hoping to get information for everyone who follows my blog and I haven’t heard from them. Just keep asking Darla.

        February 9, 2014
      • :-)

        March 17, 2014
  15. It’s quite odd but some of m yown favorite images are from photograhing my subjects from behind as opposed to the front. Some of my favorite worrk in other mediums is that way as well. In fact, my fortieth birthday present to myself (now a long time ago, sigh) was an overpainted serigraph by a British artist named Fairchild of a red-haired woman looking out a window – but from behind. There is a certain mystery that I find infinitely appealing and the possibilities for stories seem endless. Thank you for sharing this. Cackie

    January 13, 2014
    • It is odd, but I also find it quite interesting, not sure if I would do it, but it could be an interesting thing to investigate. Thank you for you thoughts Cackie.

      January 13, 2014
  16. There is a wonderful quality of light.

    January 13, 2014
    • Oh yes, I would love to get that in my images.

      January 13, 2014
  17. Beautiful images-thanks for sharing some works of this artist. The light and shadow, captured in more quiet, reflective times is remarkable.

    January 13, 2014
    • Really great to hear that others like his work. I agree with you have said, he does capture something quite special.

      January 13, 2014
  18. It’s interesting how he used the manipulation of light in the paintings, as you would in a photograph. I also like the fact that some of the subjects are side on or looking away. X

    January 13, 2014
    • His light is great, I love the way he uses it as well.

      January 13, 2014
  19. Hello Leanne,
    I love these paintings- light,colours ,simplicity.I’d never heard of him, so many thanks for this introduction and enlightenment,
    BW,
    Julian

    January 13, 2014
    • I am glad to have introduced his work to you Julian, I love his work. It is even better when others like it as well.

      January 13, 2014
  20. Leanne, thanks for sharing this painting. This is a good reference to quiet and serenade feelings

    January 13, 2014
    • I agree, he does both so well, and you are welcome, glad you like him.

      January 13, 2014
  21. Thanks, I had never heard of him, but i do like his work!

    January 13, 2014
    • That is great to hear, glad you like the introduction.

      January 13, 2014
  22. Very interesting images, Leanne, and completely unknown to me, so thanks for introducing them. They really are quite surreal and speak of a quiet imminence. They are truly a photographers muse and perhaps only since our acceptance of HDR have we been able to capture dark interiors and window light satisfactorily.
    I’m always surprised that so few photographers look at paintings. These paintings remind me that simplicity though often preferable, is quite hard to achieve. Thanks for showing them.

    January 13, 2014
    • I am happy to have introduced him to him. I think you are right about HDR photography and this is certainly one place where it would be completely appropriate. I think I look at paintings because that is what I was taught to do at art school, to look at what others are doing and learn from them, it isn’t always about technique, you can learn a lot about composition looking at these works. You are very welcome, I am so happy you liked them.

      January 14, 2014
  23. Nice post – thanks for the introduction – has a Wyeth look to the work, although he preceded Wyeth by almost a century.

    January 13, 2014
    • Apparently he was a Whistler fan, hence the image of his mother. You are very welcome Robert, it is nice to introduce someone new.

      January 14, 2014
  24. He was a master of light. I want to look at his work again and again for he has given us something precious. Thank you for sharing.

    January 14, 2014
    • That is so wonderful to hear, I am so glad to read this. You’re very welcome.

      January 14, 2014
  25. I’d never heard of him either but looking at his interior paintings and your style, I can see the influence!

    January 14, 2014
    • I think you might be one of the first people to say that Laura, I think the same, I love the look he gets in his paintings.

      January 14, 2014
  26. Great report. Reminds me of watching lectures at The Cleveland Museum of Art. Great report.

    January 14, 2014
    • Oh, I hope it didn’t sound too much like a art history lesson, I didn’t want to do that, just talk about why I love the work.

      January 14, 2014
      • Not, it didn’t sound like a lesson. It sounded like you knew what you were talking about and it was loaded with information. It is beautiful art.

        January 14, 2014
      • That is great Mark, thank you.

        January 14, 2014
  27. I learned so much from your excellent, informative post. I had never heard of this artist and like his style, subdued yet powerful. I’ve also checked out a couple other posts on your blog and am now a fan of yours, as well.

    January 14, 2014
  28. An interesting post once more. I’d not heard of him, but shall look him up now. Thank you.

    January 14, 2014
    • I’ve been a fan for almost 10 years, have always enjoyed looking at his work and seeing what I can learn from him, glad you like him too.

      January 14, 2014
  29. I love his work too. It is a long time since I saw any of his work. But I love his textures and affects. It is funny how we can use filters to achieve the same look with our photos. I was thinking about this when watching the Antiques RoadShow. I saw an exquisite portrait done on french paper in charcoal and the amount of time spent on it. then I thought of some photos I had taken of 1920’s architecture here in Hastings which I had edited into a charcoal drawing. It was just a click. How times are changing.
    Keep cool. :D

    January 14, 2014
    • Though in defense of the artists, you can do that one click, but to most of us, it will look like a one click, whereas a charcoal drawing will have variations, different strokes, the image may not be as perfect, so I hope we never replace charcoal drawings, or paintings, with one click on our computers. There is a craft in the former. His work is quite incredible, and I love how he sees things. Glad you like his work too.
      I am keeping cool so far, not sure how we will get through the rest of the week, but I know we will. :)

      January 14, 2014
  30. LB #

    Was unfamiliar with him, so thank you! I love that first one of the music room.

    January 14, 2014
    • That is fantastic LB, so glad to have introduced you to him. I know the one, it is brilliant, well I think they all are. :)

      January 14, 2014
  31. There is a photographic quality about the paintings which illustrates very well how allied the two forms of art actually are. They are not exclusive disciplines – results can be remarkably similar, but the medium and techniques are different, just as they are on a canvas when using chalk or watercolours or oils.

    January 14, 2014
    • I totally agree Colonialist, and I think we can learn a lot by looking at them. Not so our photos start to look like paintings, but about artists used light, and how they composed their images.

      January 14, 2014
      • Certainly that, but I would venture to suggest that there are occasions when the exact result a photographer wants will remind one of a painting, and conversely when a painter will aim for the precision that normally comes from a photo.

        January 14, 2014
      • That is true, I’ve had people compare my images to paintings, though it wasn’t what I was necessarily going for. Though some people will just go to the filter menu and do it that also. I have seen those paintings, very very had to tell they are paintings, Photo Realism they call it, I believe.

        January 14, 2014
  32. ‘Quiet’ paintings indeed Leanne … the muted tones and light works so well with his depictions of those absorbing activities like sewing reading and writing which would have been so much part of everyday life for these women he has chosen to paint . A slightly haunting melancholy quality about some of them I feel …

    January 14, 2014
    • Great description Poppytump, one of the things I love about doing these posts is how other people can show you a different way of looking at the images, and I think you have certainly done that. Thank you.

      January 14, 2014
  33. I’ve heard of Hammershøi, but haven’t seen any of his artwork. Good post.

    January 14, 2014
    • I am so glad you have seen his work now, thanks David.

      January 14, 2014
  34. Painters who go the representative way, have to say more (in my opinion) than a good liking. With this one the silence and privacy in his paintings remind me on Andrew Wyeth. Thanks for sharing!

    January 14, 2014
    • You are welcome, a few people have said that about him.

      January 14, 2014
  35. These are beautiful paintings. My favorite is the “park” in the winter!

    January 15, 2014
    • That is fantastic, I am so glad you like them Tiny.

      January 15, 2014
  36. The paintings of the trees remind me of some photos by E. Sreichen and A. Stieglitz. Lovely!…

    January 15, 2014
    • Oh, I hadn’t thought of them, that sounds great.

      January 15, 2014
      • You’re most welcome!
        And it’s E. Steichen, sorry for the mistake!…

        January 15, 2014
      • That’s okay, I actually knew who you were talking about, I saw an exhibition of his work just before Christmas, just beautiful.

        January 15, 2014
  37. I saw an exhibition of his work here in Munich a couple of years ago. I liked it – although somewhat “heavy”.

    January 15, 2014
    • I am so jealous, his work will never come to Australia, I don’t think. I will have to travel to see it.

      January 16, 2014
  38. I can also see in this work Leanne the textures that you like to add to your images…. very nice :-)

    January 19, 2014

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