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Hammershøi and Rothenstein – 3–Pack

Vilhelm Hammershøi
Interior, Sunlight on the Floor (detail)
Tate. Purchased 1930

Described by Michaëlis and Bramsen as follows: ‘To the left is a table with a white tablecloth, which is cut by the edge of the frame, and further, a woman in black standing between the table and the wall at the back. The owner [Leonard Borwick] has folded the canvas back so that the figure is unseen, as it did not seem to him to equalize with the other parts of the picture’. This was evidently done early on, as the reproduction in The Studio in 1909 shows the picture in its present state. The concealed parts are still there, but have suffered considerable paint losses.

The picture as it is today is rather similar to a painting of 1900 (Michaëlis-Bramsen No.283) known as ‘Dust in a Shaft of Sunlight’, which appears to show the same room and the same window, but with a different effect of light and shade. The room is apparently one in Hammershøi’s house at Strandgade 30, Copenhagen.

Vilhelm Hammershøi
Interior (detail)
Tate. Presented in memory of Leonard Borwick by his friends through the Art Fund 1926

As in this case, the interiors by the Danish artist Hammershoi are usually of his own house in Copenhagen. Several others also include a figure seen from behind, but many are of the empty rooms. He travelled and exhibited in Europe, and was well known in London early in this century. He had lived here in 1896-7, partly in the hope of meeting Whistler, whom he admired.

Sir William Rothenstein
Mother and Child (detail),
Tate. Purchased 1988

Rothenstein made a number of portraits of his family and close friends in which the interior is as important as the figure. In this painting the artist’s wife Alice is shown with their first child John, aged about two. The interior is the family’s house in Hampstead. Without any narrative intent, the painting can be interpreted as a simple celebration of motherhood. Rothenstein greatly admired seventeenth-century Dutch painting, and the colouring, lighting and pervading stillness evidently owes a debt to Dutch painter Jan Vermeer.

Lil’Stones has a license to print to three x 75mm, and three x 35mm Lil’Stones during the ACMI exhibition, Light: Works from Tate’s Collection, running from the 16th of June to the 19th of November 2022.



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