Hans Hessellund, Interior Scene With Family
A fine 19th-century interior scene by academy-trained Danish artist, Hans Andreasen Hessellund (1851-1907). It depicts two women, presumably a mother and daughter, working at a table while a bearded man stands alongside them.
The attention to detail here is exquisite and the light is beautifully observed. Note how Hessellund has drawn attention to the young lady’s hands as she knits while reading a book. Her forefingers and thumbs are brightly lit, whereas her face is almost hidden entirely in the shadows.
Genre scenes of this nature were often intended to work at two levels. In addition to their decorative appeal, they also sought to comment on issues of the day and pose questions for the viewer. With this in mind, how do you read the scene? Is it relevant that the females are sitting diligently making clothes while the father stands over them wearing the products of their labour? Or is it simply a quiet moment of everyday life recorded for posterity?
Little is known about the artist but several of his works have appeared at the leading auction houses, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
The painting is signed in the lower left and housed within a period frame.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 24½” x 21” / 62cm x 53cm
Year of creation: c. 1890
Condition: Very presentable. Recently cleaned and lightly restored. Canvas relined. Frame with age-related wear.
Artist’s auction highlight: £1,751 achieved for ‘Sonnens Orlov’ at a Danish auction in 1989.