Early 20th-Century Danish School

Portrait Of An American Three-Masted Barque

Early 20th-Century Danish School

Portrait Of An American Three-Masted Barque

This early 20th-century Danish oil painting depicts an American three-masted barque along with three other vessels including a two-masted schooner and a steamship.

A label on the reverse refers to the framemaker and carpenter, Otto Axel Christian Hoppe (1890-1982), during his time working in Lohals, a harbour town in southern Denmark. It describes his workshop as “next to Brygger Rasmussen”, a local brewery which operated from the early part of the 20th century until 1919. So, given Hoppe’s age, we can assume that the framing dates to circa 1910.

This tallies with the approximate date of the painting, so we can reasonably assume that it was completed by a painter local to Lohals for one of the senior crew. The vessel itself is of American origin, indicated by the flag attached to its mizzenmast. Trade between the US and Denmark was well established by this point and Lohals was a busy port city. A variety of goods were imported including hops, stoneware, coffee, rice flour, salt, tobacco leaves, coal and building materials.

It’s interesting to see the steamer in the distance, as these were used for local transportation between the islands. In 1908, for example, the steamer ‘Langeland’, serviced a route between Langeland and Copenhagen. It looks very similar in a photograph from the period.

The painting is monogrammed in the lower left but the artist appears to be unknown. Stylistically, it bears some resemblance to works by Carl Ludwig Bille (1815-1898), so perhaps he was tutored by him.

Held in its original gilt frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 36½” x 27½” / 93cm x 70cm
Year of creation: c. 1910 
Labels & Inscriptions: Label on the reverse from Otto Axel Christian Hoppe (1890-1982), a carpenter and framemaker of Lohals, Denmark.
Provenance: Private collection, Denmark.
Condition: Assessed and approved by our conservator. Cleaned. The darker areas appear to be in the pigment itself rather than in or on the varnish. Revarnished. Faint stretcher marks. Frame with light marks and signs of age.
Our reference: BRV1829

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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