Lot 29
  • 29

Vilhelm Hammershøi

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
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  • Vilhelm Hammershøi
  • Ida in an Interior
  • oil on canvas

  • 39 by 30cm., 15½ by 11¾in.


Winkel & Magnussen, Copenhagen
Jacob Hertz
Sale: Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhagen, 7 February 1975, lot 8
Purchased at the above sale by the mother of the present owner


Alfred Bramsen & Sophus Michaëlis, Vilhelm Hammershøi. Kunstneren og hans værk, Copenhagen & Christiania, 1918, p. 103, no. 260, catalogued and discussed


The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd., of 13 & 14 Mason's Yard, London SW1Y 6BU: UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE Structural Condition The canvas is unlined and is painted on the reverse, with the original stretcher. The canvas is providing a secure and stable structural support. Paint surface The paint surface has an even but I suspect slightly discoloured varnish layer and two fly-spots, or tiny surface deposits, are visible on the paint surface. These are in the lower left corner and on the doorway above the head of Ida. There is slight frame rubbing around the outer framing edges. No retouchings are visible under ultraviolet light. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in excellent and stable condition and should benefit from cleaning (which would remove the fly-spots) and revarnishing.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

The present work was painted in 1904 in the artist's home at Strandgade 30. Though her face is hidden from view, the model is undoubtedly Hammershøi's wife Ida whom he married in 1891, and who became the focus of many of his most celebrated compositions.

Ida is portrayed holding a pewter tray in an interior that is empty except for an empire washstand visible on the right. However, it is the architectural shapes and window beyond that attract the viewer's attention. Describing what inspired him most in the subjects that he drew on, Hammershøi commented: 'What makes me choose a motif, is in the first instance the lines, what I call the architectonic structure of the painting. And then the light, obviously. The light counts for a lot, but it is the lines that I like most. The colour is subordinated, I am not indifferent to the effects of colour, indeed I work hard at their harmonisation. But when I choose a motif, it seems to me that above all it is the lines that guide me' (quoted in L'univers poétique de Vilhelm Hammershøi, exh. cat. Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen & Paris, 1997, p. 28).

The present work and lots 30 to 32 emphasise the key role Hammershøi's home in Strandgade 30 played in his oeuvre. The interior decoration of the apartment was not incidental, Hammershøi and his wife had the eighteenth-century wall panelling and mouldings, as well as the doors and window frames, painted white before moving in. The artist used his home as a stage set to explore his fascination with the play of light over geometric shapes.