Loeb Danish Ardt Collection - page 219

[

PETER ILSTED
   ‒    
.
Portrait of Vilhelm Hammershøi
(

)
(Portræt af Vilhelm Hammershøi)
Etching, print dimensions
¹⁄₁₀
x
½
in. (

x

mm)
         :
Fortegnelse over Peter Ilsteds gra
fi
ske Arbejder
, [Copenhagen

], no.

; Aksel Jørgensen,
Peter Ilsted
[Copenhagen

], ill. p.
; Jørgen Sthyr,
Dansk gra
fi
k


, Copenhagen

, p.

, ill. p.

.
I
n a splendid little etching, Ilsted has provided a portrait of the young Vilhelm Hammershøi dressed
in a frock-coat, but bearded and with his hair long in the style of an artist,” wrote Aksel Jørgensen
¹
in

. Hammershøi is described as a quiet personality, introspective and exclusive, but seriously commit-
ted to his art. This informal Ilsted portrait shows him as a private individual deep in thought. The por-
trait was probably created on the basis of a photograph. The Royal Library in Copenhagen possesses two
portrait photographs of Hammershøi in which his dress, hair and beard correspond closely to Ilsted’s
print. One of them is taken full face and shows Hammershøi together with his wife Ida and the painter
Karl Madsen’s (


) son Henry.
²
In the other, he is seen almost in pro
fi
le, leaning back in just the
same way as in Ilsted’s portrait and with a similar expression on his face. A photograph of him in three-
quarter pro
fi
le, corresponding completely to Ilsted’s engraving might very well have existed without its
being known today.
Peter Ilsted and Vilhelm Hammershøi made each other’s acquaintance during their early years while
training under P.S. Krøyer in the

’s. Together with their mutual friend Carl Holsøe (


), they
were preoccupied with the same range of motifs, interiors with
fi
gures and trees in the landscape. In

, Hammershøi became engaged to Ilsted’s sister Ida, and with the resultant marriage in

the
friendship between the two artists became even deeper.
Ilsted is known for his extensive oeuvre as a painter, but at the same time he was a remarkable
graphic artist. Starting in

, he executed a large number of etchings before turning to the demanding
coloured mezzotint in

. As a reproductive graphic artist, Ilsted executed a number of prints after
older European paintings, for instance Frans Hals and Rubens. But he also worked independently as a
peintre-graveur
. As in his painting, he found inspiration and exemplars in

th-century Netherlandish art,
which was being studied with renewed interest in the

’s by the modern artists of the time. Ilsted him-
self was a keen collector and possessed many
fi
ne graphic prints, even some by Rembrandt. Most of
Ilsted’s graphic oeuvre, however, consists of independent works.
This portrait is certainly closely related to a photograph, but the convincing depiction of personality
would scarcely be possible without Ilsted’s close relationship to his brother-in-law. The etching is one of
the last by Ilsted, one of the prints from about the turn of the

th century in which, according to Aksel
Jørgensen, the artist reached his peak as an etcher. “Such beautiful prints with such a masterful exploita-
tion of the potentials of etching have rarely been executed in Denmark. Now Ilsted had mastered the
art—and so it no longer interested him.”
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