In collaboration with SMK—The National Gallery of Denmark and AFSMK—the American Friends of SMK, the Frye Art Museum is honored to present a rare exhibition of masterworks by one of the nineteenth century’s most distinguished Symbolist painters, Danish artist, Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864–1916).
A master of atmospheric and psychological interiors. Hammershøi was admired by his contemporaries in Europe and the United States including German poet and art critic Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) and American artist John Singer Sargent (1856–1925). In 1899, he was awarded a medal at the Paris Exposition and in 1911 his work was recognized with the Grand Prize at the International Exhibition in Rome. In 1909, on the occasion of his participation in the Tenth International Exhibition of the Munich Künstlergenossenschaft [Artists Association], German critic Georg Biermann, described Hammershøi as a “modern Nordic Vermeer.”
Together with Edvard Munch (1863–1944), Hammershøi participated in a major Exhibition of Contemporary Scandinavian Art in the United States. Held under the auspices of the American-Scandinavian Society, the exhibition premiered in New York in December 1912 before traveling to Buffalo, Toledo, Chicago, and Boston. The exhibition catalogue described Hammershøi’s “subdued ambience of tonality, and permeating quietude of spirit” as well as the “tense and tremulous subjectivity which these incomparable little [picture] panels reveal.” The author concluded that his “interiors and genre studies are quite without parallel in the province of modem artistic achievement.”
Employing a strict palette of colors, many of Hammershøi’s canvases depict the interior of his apartment at 30 Strandgade, Copenhagen, and the streets of the Danish capital, as devoid of life.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website