Copenhagen Interior School  

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painters of silence

The 'Copenhagen Interior School' ("Interiørmaler") is the name given to the work of a loose grouping of Danish artists.

These artists are now famous for painting images of "Sunshine and Silent Rooms", all in subtle colors. Their works reflects the orderliness of a tranquil life –- similar to the earlier works of Vermeer.

Peter Ilsted, Carl Holsøe and Vilhelm Hammershoi were the leading Danish artists in the early 20th century. All three artists were members of ‘The Free Exhibition’, a progressive art society created around 1890.

Ilsted was Hammershøi's brother-in-law. While at first glance their work appears similar, it is in fact quite different. Hammershøi’s work has an aloof austerity, in contrast to Ilsted's scenes of common life. Though sometimes Hammershøi’s colorful early pictures are reminiscent of James Tissot, his work is quintessentially Danish. However, Ilsted was more of a technician, and he made considerable contributions in the field of graphic art. Ilsted’s mezzotints (colored à la poupeé) were very popular and important in his day. They were an innovation in the media. Ilsted exhibited his work all over Europe, in London in 1907, in Germany and at the Paris Salon. It is there that his work was first exposed to Europe’s art community.

Ilsted was a great success in his lifetime and won many awards and accolades for his work. He was the only member of the group to also focus on printmaking.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) held an important exhibition on the work of Ilsted, Hammershoi, and Vermeer in 2001.

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