Art and numismatics rarely collide, but do so in this important work by painter Vilhelm Hammershøi
Posted from Paul Fraiser Collectibles
It is today remembered as a Danish ‘golden age’, a period in the 19th century when Denmark’s art, philosophy and the sciences flourished like never before.
And, according to experts, this painting typifies the period – and it happens to feature a coin collector.
The rediscovered work by artist Vilhelm Hammershøi is among the highlights at Sotheby’s upcoming Scandinavia sale on Tuesday November 22.
Entitled Forarbejde til Møntsamleren (or Study for the Coin Collector) is, as the title suggests, a preparatory version of his later masterpiece, 1904′s Møntsamleren (The Coin Collector).
As well as offering fascinating evidence of a Hammershøi ‘work in progress’, the painting is also significant for featuring the artist’s brother, Svend.
While Vilhelm Hammershøi was a jobbing artist who regular accepted commissions from, and to paint, strangers, the presence of Svend in Møntsamleren reflects the artist’s real desire to depict his close friends and family.
Svend – himself a painter and ceramicist – also starred in three other noted Hammershøi works, including a portrait of him aged just eight painting while Vilhelm was himself only 17.
This precocious work today hangs in the Hirschsprungske Samling, Copenhagen – evidence of the esteem and value in which Hammershøi’s works are held by the Danish art establishment.
With this in mind, it’s perhaps of no surprise that Hammershøi’s Forarbejde til Møntsamleren is appearing at Sotheby’s with a £30,000-50,000 ($82,538) estimate.
The sale of this work is appropriate enough given the current hotness of the global coin markets – while also offering evidence as to how the passion of collectors was never far from Denmark’s ‘Golden Age’.