Hammershoi's Light

Dust Motes Dancing in Sunbeams, 1900, Wilhelm Hammershøi.
A room in the artist's 17th-century apartment building
which was
located in a busy area near Copenhagen's docks and factories.
Tall Windows, 1913
study of sunlight, 1906.
In art school a teacher said of Hammershoi, "I have a student who paints in a very strange way....
I think he'll become important."

Interior Courtyard, Strandgade 30, 1899
The artist c. 1885
a photograph I took at Governors Island 2012
Danish artist Wilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) travelled widely through Europe and painted landscapes, farms, and other rural scenes but his most compelling and recognized works are his quiet, melancholy interiors, mostly of the apartments he lived in in Copenhagen. Non-narrative yet with an oddly cinematic quality, Hammershoi's paintings capture nearly empty rooms, sometimes with a solitary figure, often his wife Ida. Painted within a tight tonal range of grays, and desaturated yellows and blues these rooms seem to murmur in a near hypnotic state. Air and light are almost palpable. Although these are not restful or inviting interiors, I'm unfailingly drawn to them.

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