(1863 Arhus –Asserbo 1935, Danish School)
Interior Scene with Cello
Oil on canvas
58,5 x 50,5 cm
Signed lower left : C. HOLSOE
Provenance : Georg Kleis Kunsthandel, Vesterbro 58, Copenhagen ; Private Colleciton, Sweden.
Our elegant interior scene invites us to enter into the intimist work of Carl Vilhelm Holsoe. One of the greatest artists of the Danish School in the late 19th and the first decades of the 20th century, Holsoe began his apprenticeship at the Royal Academy of Painting in Copenhagen, where he studied from 1882 to 1884. Subsequently, in the company of Vilhelm Hammershoi and Peter Ilsted, he was taught by Peder Severin Kroyer at the Kunsternes Studieskole. The three artists, who remained close thereafter, became Scandinavia’s most famous painters of interior scenes.
When Holsoe made his professional debut at Charlottenborg, in 1886, Karl Madsen wrote that it “seemed almost to be a manifesto.” Already, his incredible sense of light, inherited directly from the artists of the Dutch Golden Age, like Vermeer and de Hooch, was a huge success. Interior with a Young Girl Reading, in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, is one of the most beautiful examples.
Holsoe’s interior scenes, in which time seems to stand still, invite day-dreaming and contemplation. They sometimes feature a female figure, the artist’s wife and muse, Emilie Heise (1868-1930), who married Holsoe in 1894. The expression on her face is only rarely seen—the viewer seemingly surprising the young woman as she goes about her everyday life, without her paying any attention. This is the case for our canvas, as well as for Woman with a Basket of Fruit in the collection of the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Madrid (circa 1900-1910).
In these intimist works, Holsoe invites the viewer to enter into his very own interior.
His wife is shown here in their music room, reading in front of a spinet, a cello leaning against it. The two instruments can be found in several works by the artist, one of them particularly similar, but with no human presence, executed at only a few months or years from it.
All of these elegant and serene works are reminiscent of the monochromatic, silent interiors by Hammershoi, punctuated, as here, by the interplay of open or closed doors , (bringing to mind in particular the very beautiful lnterior, Strandgade, 30 belonging to the Städel Museum in Frankfort, executed in 1901). Holsoe always remained very much influenced by the work of his friend, even if he never adopted the clean, spare quality so characteristic of the great Danish master.