Sotheby’s latest sale of European Paintings in London proved a seminal event for the work of Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) as five paintings by the Danish painter topped the sale, led by a record price at auction for both the artist and any Danish work of art.
The five works sold for a combined £3.69m on
June 11, topped by Ida Reading a Letter, shown here, which
sold for a record £1.5m (plus 25/20/12% buyer's premium) to an
international private collector, more than double the
A typical still interior scene in a muted
palette, the 2ft 2in x 23in (66 x 59cm) oil on canvas from 1899
depicts the artist's wife and was among the first works painted by
Hammershøi in Strandgade 30, his home in Copenhagen from 1898 to
1909, which was the subject of many of his interior scenes.
Ida Reading a Letter was
consigned from a private collection and its market freshness
contributed to the competition between three telephone bidders.
It tripled the previous auction record for
Hammershøi, established at Sotheby's in 2006 forInterieur med
Staffeli, Bredgade 25 (Interior with easel, Bredgade 25), c.1910,
which sold for a premium-inclusive £590,400.
Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg, head of Sotheby's
Denmark, said: "This was the perfect storm of five top-quality
works from different collections supported by a wide spread of
international bidders to achieve utterly exceptional prices.
"All five paintings by Hammershøi sold at
Sotheby's today were completely fresh to the market and in
excellent condition. They worked well as a group, with each
distinctive motif - the artist's wife, a candlelit interior and a
cityscape - so representative of Hammershøi."
Bidders came from Asia, America, Scandinavia
and Central Europe.
The four other Hammershøi works sold in the sale were
Interior with Two Candles (£950,000), Ida in an
Interior (£560,000), Ida Standing at a
Desk (£380,000) and Strandgade with Christians Kirke
in the background (£300,000).