Willy Bille, Nocturne With Harbour & Moored Vessels

Willy Bille, Nocturne With Harbour & Moored Vessels

This enriching early 20th-century nocturne by Danish artist Willy Bille (1889-1944) depicts a harbour under moonlight. It’s a jutting combination of forms with a contradictory emphasis on the absence of light. The lack of contrast brings the buildings together, which quietly stand behind the subtle silhouette of a moored fishing boat. The composition asks questions, pulls you in.

Willy Bille was the product of a proud family of marine painters. His father, Vilhelm, and grandfather, Carl Ludwig, were also well versed in the tales of the sea. But Willy, unlike his elders, sought to add more expression to his works - he was inspired by the ever-evolving scene in Paris. Note how he combines the two worlds - a traditional subject that evokes the formality of 19th-century marine paintings with a looser, more spirited, approach to brushwork. It’s interesting to imagine the conversations he had with his father.

Signed and framed.

Learn more about Willy Bille in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 30” x 24½” / 77cm x 62cm
Year of creation: c. 1920
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light 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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