Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 153

Over the years, Svend Hammershøi exhibited his work in the Den Frie udstilling (The Free Exhi-
bition) side-by-side with that of his brother Vilhelm. Svend’s connection to the most important artists
in the avant-garde represented by the Free Exhibition can be seen in his inclusion in his brother’s mon-
umental painting,
Five Portraits
, Thielska Galleriet, Stockholm, Sweden). In this picture, he
sits with the critic Karl Madsen, the architect and designer Thorvald Bindesbøll, and the painter and
sculptor J. F. Willumsen (
Svend Hammershøi’s first paintings were strongly influenced by the Symbolist movement, for
example, a picture of the coast of Refnæs (
, Nationalmuseum, Oslo). But within a few years he
had found his own mode of expression through architectural paintings, where the interaction between
the leafless trees, historical buildings and claire-obscure (use of marked differences in light and dark,
providing a dramatic effect) are dominating features. While Vilhelm mainly painted interiors and
chose perpendicular perspectives, Svend often used an inclined perspective.
As had Vilhelm, Svend became very fond of England. In the years from
he painted
intensively there, especially in Oxford and in Wells, interrupted only by World War I. The Gothic
buildings appealed to him, and in the paintings, he created in England we see many different, yet
related motifs: tight composition, subdued color scale and blurred outlines. Stairs and sculptural
details are often dominating elements, and the atmosphere he evokes clearly shows the influence of
Symbolism. Svend Hammershøi won recognition in London with exhibitions at the Royal Institute of
British Architects in
and at the Royal Academy in
Svend Hammershøi did architectural painting in Denmark and, primarily in the winter months,
painted the castles of Kronborg, Rosenborg, Frederiksborg and the ruins of Koldinghus, Kolding in
Jutland. Besides the castles, he also painted several old churches in Copenhagen, Nikolaj, Vor Frue,
Trinitatis and Sankt Petri. (His brother Vilhelm also painted several of these churches.) Svend Ham-
mershøi’s paintings are to be found mostly at the Museum at Koldinghus, but he is also represented at
the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen.
An important part of Svend Hammershøi’s oeuvre is his decorative art. For a brief period in the
s, he was one of the artists prestigious enough to sign his work at the Royal Porcelain Manufac-
tury (today “Royal Copenhagen”). Five of his pots represented the company at the
World Fair
in Paris, and one was sold to the Musée National du Céramique in Sèvres. Later on he worked at Bing
and Grøndahl’s, designing and decorating ceramics, an art form extremely important to him. In
he renewed collaboration with Kähler, creating a series of original works, some of which were dis-
played in the Danish Museum of Decorative Arts in
. These were unglazed red clay pots with very
detailed pictures of plants, as well as pots with asymmetrical rims. In the
s, part of his work was
decorated with Kähler’s trademark: black and white speckles and a softened glaze. Svend Hammer-
shøi’s ceramic work is well represented at Næstved Museum, located close to the Kähler factory.
Some of Svend Hammershøi’s ceramic shapes were rendered in silver by the goldsmith Holger
Kyster (
) in Kolding. A connection between the two was established in
, initiated by
Thorvald Bindesbøll. The collaboration lasted until the mid-
s with Hammershøi creating mod-
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