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Past Exhibitions
Vilhelm Hammershøi: The Poetry of Silence

Vilhelm Hammershøi: The Poetry of Silence

30 September 2008 - 7 December 2008
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
In cooperation with
Nikkei Inc., The Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Number of vistors

Also held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 28 June - 7 September 2008

Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) was one of Denmark’s major painters, renowned in his own lifetime throughout Europe. He was forgotten quickly after his death, however, and it is only in recent years that he has returned to the limelight. Hammershøi’s works were strongly influenced by 17th century Dutch painting and they are often characterized by quiet interior scenes reminiscent of Vermeer. He chose his own homes as the stage setting for his interior scenes, and it was his wife Ida who frequently appeared as the figure in these scenes. While images of Ida seen from the back invite us into the composition, conversely both the woman’s back and the melancholic interiors can also imply a sense of rejection. In spite of such sentiments, Hammershøi’s paintings of interiors are by no means without a sense of comfort. This is possibly because the largely monotone scenes are intricately constructed to form a quiet, still painterly space. Indeed, entering such rooms is like being enveloped in a soundless world.

This exhibition is the first introduction of Hammershøi’s artistic realm in Japan. In addition to works by Hammershøi, this exhibition also features Japan’s first introduction of paintings by Danish interior scene painters, such as Peter Ilsted and Carl Holsoe. This major retrospective will provide visitors with an ample opportunity for a first-hand experience of the fascination of Danish modern art.