Hjalmar Matthiessen, Stargazing

Hjalmar Matthiessen, Stargazing

A beautiful early 20th-century interior scene by Danish painter, Hjalmar Amandus Matthiessen (1880-1955). It depicts a young lady looking through a roof window - perhaps stargazing on a particularly clear night. She’s resting one knee on a chair and there’s a table with an empty glass to her right.

Matthiessen was born into an artistic family as his father and both grandfathers were painters. After developing his skills, he headed for the Academy in Copenhagen to train under Sophus Vermehren (1866-1950). He also trained at a school led by Harald Foss (1843-1922).

Later in life, he was described as a “tall and stately” man that would often stroke his “well-groomed beard with a characteristic hand gesture”. Together with his wife, he enjoyed entertaining guests and would usually spice up a conversation with witty anecdotes.

Fellow painter, Herman Vedel (1875-1948), produced a gentle portrait of him in 1938. The sensitive handling suggests a lasting friendship.

Extracts from Matthiessen’s memoirs can be found here.

The painting is signed in the lower right and held within a later frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 19½” x 24” / 50cm x 61cm
Year of creation: c. 1916
Provenance: Denmark
Condition: Craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some age-related wear.

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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