Lot 45
  • 45

Paul Fischer

70,000 - 90,000 USD
87,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Paul Fischer
  • Hvad er der på færde? (What's going on in Copenhagen?)
  • signed Paul Fischer. and dated 1899 (lower left)
  • oil on canvas


Private Collection (acquired at Charlottenborg in 1900, thence by descent until 1987)
Sale: Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhagen, April 23, 1987, lot 189, illustrated
Private Collection (acquired at the above sale, and sold, Christie's, London, June 15, 2005, lot 172, illustrated)
Acquired at the above sale


Copenhagen, Charlottenborg, 1900, no. 122 (as Vesterbros Passage)


Steffen Linvald, Paul Fischer, københavnernes maler, Copenhagen1984, illustrated p. 30
Helge Carlsen, Billedmageren Paul Fischer, Copenhagen, 1991, no. 51, illustrated p. 79

Catalogue Note

Inspired by daily life in Copenhagen, Paul Fischer's street scenes display the vitality and energy of urban life that many of his contemporaries were exploring in Paris. Fischer had rejected the traditional curriculum at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen and aligned himself with a group of young artists that included Peder Severin Krøyer, Carl Locher and Laurits Tuxen. These artists heralded a new era in Danish art; their artistic style and subject matter were heavily inspired by their studies and the artists that they encountered in Paris in the late 1870s and 1880s, specifically the Impressionists. Fischer traveled to Paris from 1891 to 1894, and the influence of artists such as Jean Béraud and Gustave Caillebotte is evident in his oeuvre, quickly earning him the reputation of a painter of cities and particularly Copenhagen, but also those throughout Scandinavia, Germany and Italy.

Hvad er der på færde? (What’s going on in Copenhagen?) depicts the city’s cobble stone town square, the Radhuspladsen, an area close to the Vesterbro-Gade, one of the most animated areas of the city. The title offers no clues as to why a crowd has gathered around a stagecoach at left and drawing glances from passersby. However, the clouds parting after the rain, and the spring-like warm clothes allude to the April, 1889 christening of Prince Frederick IX, which drew dignitaries and royalty to Copenhagen from all over Europe.

Fischer often used his family and friends as models and in the present work the artist's wife and his son Sigurd are recognizable in the foreground. Also recognizable in the background is the Frihedsstøtten, the obelisk shaped monument erected by the peasantry in 1778 in memory to the abolition of serfdom.