What marks Hammershoi’s paintings as modern isn’t style as much as a searching, melancholic mood. . . . Something is hidden, and it’s not just whatever it is that she is doing. Hammershoi’s rooms are spaces of spiritual inquiry animated by transcendental vibes that are felt but not seen.
Interior: An Old Stove (1888), an early example, represents a dim room vacant but for a hulking black furnace to the left. Through an open door to the right is a closed white door on the other side of a more brightly lighted hallway. What lies beyond that further door? Probably just another room, but there’s a poetic suggestiveness about it. If the painter could have opened that door, maybe he would have discovered another, more colorful, world.Then again, probably not, given the utter absence of color in his whole oeuvre.
This blogger says:
To me, one of the exciting things about Hammershøi’s art is the way in which he takes a motif that seems to depict nothing at all and then turns it around so that you find that it contains everything. That a point of no interest becomes a place laden with great significance.Well, ok, if that's your thing.
For example, take a painting of a wall in a light-filled room where there are only very few objects ... this might seem dull and boring at first, but if you pay close attention or dedicate some time to standing in front of the painting you can feel it resonating with your body.
Hammershøi’s very painstaking mode of painting and the time and effort he poured into the canvas is almost transferred to the spectator. Many brushstrokes are visible, and each of them holds a small world of understated colour and light or shade. Once you start noticing this, the painting opens itself up to you.
Sotheby's in 2012 for £1,105,000.