The first time I saw a painting by Hammershoi was at a Hayward Gallery exhibition of works bought for the nation by the National Art Collection Fund. Once I had recovered from the stirring sight of four of the most beautiful bottoms in art all together in one room - Canova's Three Graces and the Rokeby Venus - I found myself drawn repeatedly to a small painting with an extraordinary stillness about it, filled with a cool light beautifully rendered in a palette mostly of whites and greys. I had seen nothing quite like it. This, it turned out, was just about the only Hammershoi on public display (occasionally) in Britain. (It's this one.)
I mentioned it to my dear friend J. Cheever Loophole, who, despite the name, is half Danish, has long been a fan of this great Dane, and was able to fill me in. A couple of years later, Michael Palin also declared himself a fan and made a documentary that no doubt did much to popularise Hammersoi. And now we have this - and I am seriously debating whether or not to go. Hammershoi , it seems to me, is the last artist to enjoy in the context of a Royal Academy blockbuster, with the paintings hung en masse and the crowds jostling and elbowing their way from picture to picture - so much for the Poetry Of Silence... A small, quiet gallery, sparsely hung with a few well chosen paintings - that surely would be the way to savour Hammershoi.
Maybe I'm wrong and I should go - heaven knows I'd love to see more of his work. So, has anyone out there 'done' this exhibition? If so, what was it like?