Sophus Vermehren

Portrait Of Frederik Vermehren

Sophus Vermehren

Portrait Of Frederik Vermehren

This early 20th-century oil painting by Sophus Vermehren (1866-1950) depicts his father, the eminent artist Frederik Vermehren (1823-1910).

Around a year prior to completing this work, Frederik died. Sophus, his son, having painted him numerous times in old age, looked to create a lasting image of his father at rest. Tattered smock hung for the last time, legs crossed, smiling contently. Peace at last for this perceptive old master.

Sophus’ relationship with his father is fascinating to consider. Frederik, the staunch traditionalist, known for elevating the simple endeavours of Danish rural life with incisive landscapes and scenes of rustic cottages. Sophus, opting to paint the rising middle classes, the Danish bourgeois - within opulent interiors and high society.

It’s easy to judge and claim Sophus was seeking an easier sale, after all, in the early 20th century, it was the rising classes that flocked to galleries to buy art they could relate to. But, it’s more the case that Sophus was painting a world he understood - he lived a relatively comfortable lifestyle. Rarely, it seems, did he venture into the woodlands and heaths of rural Jutland. Preferring instead, to pitch his easel in townhouse sitting rooms, often his own.

Did his father approve? Frederik, with his socialist ideals, Sophus with his conservative outlook. We don’t know. But here, in this poignant portrayal from 1911, Sophus’ deep respect for his father is clear to see. With his sketchbook resting alongside him, he describes a man immersed in his work and comfortable in his own skin.

And, as with many artists, there’s always room for a beer or three.

Signed/dated in the lower right and held with its original Johan Rohde frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 31½” x 35½” / 80cm x 91cm
Year of creation: 1911
Labels & Inscriptions: Label on reverse possibly relating to a retrospective exhibition for Frederick Vermehren.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Canvas relined. Craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £16,532

Sophus Vermehren

Sophus Vermehren

Sophus Vermehren trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. His works are held in numerous public collections.

Learn more about Sophus Vermehren 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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