Peter Ilsted, Piano Lesson

Peter Ilsted, Piano Lesson

A fine early 20th-century etching depicting two girls at the piano by Danish artist, Peter Ilsted (1861-1933). 

Ilsted was one of the leading artists of his generation and his works are often compared with Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer. Note the strong emphasis on order in this composition with every element carefully positioned along horizontal and vertical lines. Even the wall panelling seems deliberately designed to draw the eye - as the story unfolds in our imagination. 

Ilsted was a contemporary of Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916) and Carl Holsoe (1863-1935) - with all three becoming masters of tranquil interior scenes. Ilsted's interiors are similar to Hammershoi’s but generally possess more order and mathematical precision. Hammershoi was married to Ilsted’s sister so the pair undoubtedly spent many afternoons discussing their ideas.

This particular piece is an early 20th-century mezzotint, which would’ve been based upon a plate originally produced by Ilsted himself. 

Medium: Mezzotint on paper
Overall size: 15” x 16½” / 38cm x 42cm
Year of creation: c. 1920
Provenance: Denmark
Condition: Overall very presentable. Frame with some light age-related wear.
Artist’s Auction Highlight (for etchings, prints and mezzotints): £8,030 achieved for an etching titled 'Bildnis von Vilhelm Hammershøi' at an auction in 2020. 

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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