Ludovica Thornam

Portrait Of A Man With A Pipe

Ludovica Thornam

Portrait Of A Man With A Pipe

This charming late 19th-century oil painting by Danish artist Ludovica Thornam (1853-1896) depicts an older gentleman smoking a pipe.

Thornam began her artistic tuition at a time when women were not permitted to study at Denmark’s leading institution, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. As such, her development was self-initiated and powered by her own momentum. Many of her female peers were resigned to painting simply as a hobby but, against the odds, she became one of the only women of her generation to earn a full-time salary from her art.

An early opportunity arrived in the form of the eminent Danish landscape painter, Vilhelm Kyhn, who offered her a place at his painting school in Copenhagen. Such was her talent that she soon began exhibiting at the prestigious Charlottenborg Spring Exhibitions and by 1887, was awarded a grant by the Ministry of Culture to study at the Académie Julian in Paris under Jules Lefebvre.

Training both in Denmark and Paris gave her an interesting amalgam of ideologies and techniques, both traditional and modern. Although her approach remained generally more conventional, as we see here.

Her sister, Emmy, was also an accomplished artist and the pair travelled together, including a trip to Rome and again to Paris. It’s fascinating to consider whether the two were complementary or competitive.

Here, we see Ludovica’s portrayal of a characterful bearded gent smoking a traditional bent-neck pipe. He’s possibly Bavarian.

Signed and framed.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 25½” x 32½” / 67cm x 83cm
Year of creation: c. 1890
Labels & Inscriptions: Artist’s bio on reverse.
Provenance: Private collection, Denmark.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £19,072

Ludovica Thornam

Ludovica Thornam

Ludovica Thornam was an accomplished Danish painter of portraits, figures and scenes. During the early part of her career, women were not permitted to attend the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, so, as such, she trained with Vilhelm Kyhn in Copenhagen and later at the Académie Julian in Paris under Jules Lefebvre. Together with her sister, Emmy, she was one of the first Danish women to make a living from her art. Her style was rooted in tradition with sprinklings of Parisian flair. Her works are held in numerous public collections.

Learn more about Ludovica Thornam in our directory.

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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