Vilhelm Hammershøi: Painting Tranquility

Vilhelm Hammershoi, Interior in Strandgade, Sunlight on the Floor, 1901 (Statens
Vilhelm Hammershøi, Interior in Strandgade, Sunlight on the Floor, 1901 (Statens Museum for Kunst,

Ken Johnson reviews Painting Tranquility: Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi from SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark at Scandinavia House, New York, on view through February 27, 2016.

Johnson writes that "[Hammershøi's] paintings convey a distinctively modern psychological complexity. But unlike another famous Scandinavian, the Expressionist Edvard Munch, Hammershoi practiced a kind of representational painting dating back to Rembrandt and Vermeer. With their severely muted colors, Hammershoi’s portraits and pictures of women in nearly empty rooms may call to mind the suavely subdued paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Although influenced by him, Hammershoi never pushed as far toward abstract abbreviation as Whistler."