Lot 208
  • 208

Vilhelm Hammershøi

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 GBP
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  • 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


The catalogue illustration is overall accurate, although the colours are richer in reality. The following condition report has been provided by Hamish Dewar Ltd., 13 & 14 Mason's Yard, London SW1Y 6BU: UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE Structural Condition The canvas is unlined and is securely attached to what certainly appears to be the original keyed wooden stretcher. This is providing an even and stable structural support. There is an inscription on the upper horizontal stretcher-bar. Paint surface The paint surface has an even varnish layer. Inspection under ultra-violet light also shows a few small scattered retouchings including a thin horizontal band of retouching running along the upper horizontal framing edge and a small area of spots of retouching to the left of the seated figure. There are also small scattered spots to the piano and chair, and several further small spots within grey pigments of the wall and intermittent spots and lines along the lower horizontal framing edge. Some other very small scattered retouchings are also visible under ultra-violet light. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition.
"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

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.