Vilhem Hammershøi (1864- 1916) was a Danish artist and painter. Hammershøi, the son of a well-to-do merchant, showed great promise as an artist from an early age. He was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Hammershøi’s work has had a posthumous revival, he is now one of the best known Scandinavian painters. His work has been shown recently at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim, New York and the Royal Academy of Arts, London. His work was also the inspiration of Chanel’s Spring/Summer Campaign 09 by Karl Lagerfeld.
I think his paintings are remarkable. Hammershøi is most famous for his interiors. He rarely uses bright colours in his paintings, but rather explores grey, brown and dark hues. Whilst the colour palette is muted and subtle, there is a lot of strength and freshness in minimalism of his pictures. He captures the ‘banality of everyday life’. The figure in his pictures is often his wife Ida. Many of his pictures were painted in Christianshavn, Copenhagen (Strandgade 30 and Strandgade 25) where he lived for over ten years with his wife. Hammershøi studied under Neils Christian Kierkegaard, Holger Grønvold, Vilhelm Kyhn. His influences include Vermeer and Hammershøi’s own work was reported to be admired by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.