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Vilhelm Hammershøi (Denmark 1864‑1916)

”Landskab, Vejle”

To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale Week 12 – 15 December 2023

Lot 700 Vilhelm Hammershøi (Denmark 1864‑1916). ”Landskab, Vejle”. Oil on relined canvas, 53 x 65.5 cm.

Executed in 1883.
With inscription on the stretcher: ”V. Hammershøi (1883)”.


600.000 – 800.000 SEK
€ 52.000 – 70.000


The artist’s brother-in-law painter Peter Ilsted (1861-1933) and his wife Ingeborg Ilsted (1869-1945).
Acquired at Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhagen in the 1970s by Sven Henrysson (1943-2020).
The painter Ola Billgren (1940-2001), Malmö.
Thence by decent to the present owner.


Kunstforeningens Udstilling, March 1900.
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, ”Vilhelm Hammershøi”, 17 February-7 May 2000, cat. no. 2.
Göteborgs konstmuseum, ”Från Guldålder till Hammershøi”, 12 October 2019‑22 March 2020, cat. no. 2.


Alfred Bramsen, Vilhelm Hammershøis arbejder – fortegnelse, 1900, no. 3 (as from 1884).
Sophus Michaëlis & Alfred Bramsen, Vilhelm Hammershøi – Kunstneren og hans værk, 1918, cat. no. 6 as “Landskab – Fra Haraldskær Papir-Fabrik v. Vejle Aa. En Gruppe Træer v. Bredden af Aaen. Denne ses tillhøjre. Tillvenstre i Forgrunden et sivbevoxet Parti”.
Ola Billgren & Paul Osipow, Hammershøi, 1995, illustrated.

In context

Ever so appreciated for his serene and meditative imagery, Vilhelm Hammershøi stands out as an artistic phenomenon that has enchanted his audience and is today regarded as one of the most admired Scandinavian artists ever. Empowered with the essence of the Nordic serenity his paintings with motifs of tranquil interiors and silent landscapes are everlasting reminders of a timeless sentiment that fulfills its viewers. With a refined manner Hammershøi has brilliantly developed his painting skills into something unique and unequalled. The sense of stillness in etherical moments illuminated by the natural light in neutral colour shiftings has forever its place in our hearts.

In Copenhagen Hammershøi enrolled at the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi where he studied under the famous P.S. Krøyer. His fellow students included, among others, Peter Ilsted and Carl Holsøe. These three artists found themselves interested in the same subjects and were soon thereafter about to form the new elite of the Danish painters. The former generation with artists like P.S. Krøyer and Anna & Michael Ancher, had been highly appreciated for their plein air impressionist approach on the Danish countryside and everyday life in the wonderful coastal village of Skagen. The Skagen painters cleared the way for Hammershøi and his friends, who in return focused their motifs on the interiors and suggestive ambience inside the homes of the Danish people. With an artistic ancestry rooted in the formal traditions of the Dutch Golden Age and inspired by masters like Johannes Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch and Gerard ter Borch, Hammershøi’s scenes are contemplative and still, caught in their own reverie.

During the summers of 1882 and 1883 Hammershøi visited Vejle on southern Jylland, where his uncle William Retzmann had a paper factory, Haraldskær papirfabrik. This painting, created in 1883, has captured a motif of the countryside in the surroundings. To the left we see the stream of Vejle and across its brim, behind the reeds, towers a grove of trees that constitutes the center part of the painting. The grove is captured as a group with one contour, as it would have a solemn crown, however through the refined foliage of leaves we scent the sky and a few tree trunks. There seems to be a quiet evening where Hammershøi has found his inspiration in the inviolated nature when the light slowly is leaving the day and welcoming the dawn and following darkness of the night. In this early painting we foresee how Hammershøi is already starting to elaborate with the reducing of his colours, often varying with different tones of black and grey as its basis. Already a bold and stupendously innovative painter, he is starting to reduce towards abstraction.

Hammershøi continued to elaborate with landscape paintings during different parts of his artistry. These works are always unpopulated in a very refined manner. Very often the paintings seem somewhat surreal in their character, as though experienced in the borderline of reality. Through his reducing principles Hammershøi encloses us with an everlasting scene that could show an image of the landscape for several hundreds of years ago, as today, as in the future. The silent stillness and desolation make space for contemplation and the free spirit of our minds. The peaceful environment has been captured in a quiet moment of true harmony by the artist in an eternal beloved moment.

The provenance of this painting also remarks its importance in the artist’s oeuvre. Hammershøi married his artist friend Peter Ilsted’s sister Ida, and this work initially belonged to Peter Ilsted and his wife Ingeborg. As a true inspiration for following generations of artists, Hammershøi stands out as a great source of influence. One of those who found a close friend in his imagery was the Swedish painter Ola Billgren, in whose collection “Landskab, Vejle” was incorporated. Billgren expresses his fascination for Hammershøi in his and Paul Osipow’s published exchange of letters in ”Hammershøi” from 1995. This painting offers a rare opportunity to acquire a true early masterpiece by the ever so inspiring Vilhelm Hammershøi. 

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