Lot 208
  • 208

Vilhelm Hammershøi

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 GBP
1,142,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Vilhelm Hammershøi
  • Ida in an Interior with Piano
  • oil on canvas
  • 60 by 55cm., 23½ by 21¾in.


Georg Kleis, Copenhagen
Private Collection, Denmark (purchased from the above on 24 November 1902) 
Dr Johan Ludvig Ammentorp (by 1918)
Alice Lønberg
Sale: Sotheby's, London, 27 March 1990, lot 66
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Krefeld, Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Nordische Kunstausstellung, 1902
Possibly, Prague, 1905


Alfred Bramsen & Sophus Michaëlis, Vilhelm Hammershøi: Kunstneren og hans værk, Copenhagen, 1918, p. 99, no. 225, catalogued & described
Kunst i Privat Eje, Copenhagen, 1944, p. 206, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Ida in an Interior with Piano, painted in 1901 in the artist’s apartment at Strandgade 30, is a masterful evocation of space and light. It depicts the artist’s wife seated at the window of the drawing room of the flat, which they occupied from 1898 until 1909.  Unlike surviving photographs of Hammershøi and Ida in the drawing room at Strandgade, the paintings of their home reveal very little about the couple’s domestic existence. Devoid of sentiment and narrative, they are formal compositions in tone, light, and silence. The piano, normally associated with room-filling sound, stands silent in the stillness, the player’s stool empty.  Ida appears absorbed in her handiwork, yet exactly what she is doing – sewing or darning - is concealed by the side table. Instead, the painting is, to use a term coined by Hammershøi’s contemporary, the painter James McNeill Whistler, a  ‘symphony’  in white and grey, the whole illuminated by the soft directional light from the window as in the paintings of Vermeer which Hammershøi so admired. Hammershøi painted this corner of the drawing room in several well-known paintings, always re-arranging the furniture and paintings to arrive at new and interesting compositions.