Danish painting sells for record-breaking 31.5 million kroner

Vilhelm Hammershøi's 1900 painting ‘Interior from Strandgade 30’ was sold at auction on Tuesday for 31.5 million kroner, a new Danish record.

Danish painting sells for record-breaking 31.5 million kroner
Hammershøi's ‘Interior from Strandgade 30’ was sold at auction for 31.5 million kroner. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Prior to auction, the painting was valued at 20-30 million kroner. It depicts Hammershøi's wife, Ida Ilsted, in the apartment in Copenhagen’s Christianshavn neighbourhood where the couple lived from 1898 to 1908.

One of Denmark’s most famous artists, Hammershøi was born in Copenhagen in 1864. Much of his work depicts portraits, architecture, and interiors in his native city.

The price for ‘Interior from Strandgade 30’, raised in Tuesday’s sale at the Bruun Rasmussen auction house, makes the work the most expensive painting ever sold at an auction in Denmark.

The previous record was held by Norwegian Edvard Munch's ‘La Promenade des Anglais’, which was sold for 6.9 million kroner in 2006.

The most expensive Danish painting ever sold is also a Hammershøi.

In December 2017, his painting ‘Interior with Woman with Piano, Strandgade 30’ from 1901 was sold for $6,211,700 by American-British auction house Sotheby's in New York.

Hammershøi's works were in the past sold for relatively modest prices, but have become considerably more sought-after since the 1980s.

'Interior from Strandgade 30' was sold by Bruun Rasmussen in 1960 for just 9,600 kroner.

The seller of the painting at Tuesday's auction is anonymous and bought the work for an unknown price in 1976.

The painting was sold to a foreign buyer, Bruun Rasmussen has confirmed.

READ ALSO: Rare Danish coin fetches record sum at auction

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Not ok to chop up painting: Danish court puts stop to watch wind-up

A Danish artist has won an injunction against Faroese watch makers who wanted to repurpose one of his canvases as a range of designer timepieces.

Not ok to chop up painting: Danish court puts stop to watch wind-up
Arne Leivsgard takes in 'Paris Chic'. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The artist, Tal R, successfully appealed to courts to prevent Faroese pair Dann Thorleifsson and Arne Leivsgard from destroying one of his paintings and using the pieces to make watches – which would then be sold off at a profit.

The Maritime and Commercial Court (Sø- og Handelsretten) in Copenhagen ruled on Monday in favour of Tal R.

As a result, Thorleifsson and Leivsgard have been forbidden from going ahead with their art-repurposing project and must also pay pay 31,550 kroner in legal costs, news agency Ritzau as well as British newspaper the Guardian reported on Monday.

The court found that, by altering rather than destroying the art, Thorleifsson and Leivsgard’s plan was in breach of copyright laws.

‘Paris Chic’, part of Tal R’s ‘Sexshops’ series, was purchased in London for £70,000 (610,000 kroner) earlier this year by the Faroese pair.

Thorleifsson and Leivsgard founded a watch company, Kanske, five years ago but are also known as art provocateurs.

They planned to cut up Tal R’s painting and use the pieces as the faces in a line of designer wristwatches made for their new brand, Letho.

Between 200 and 300 watches would have been made and sold on for at least 10,000 kroner a piece, resulting in a profit of up to 4 million kroner.

But they have asserted that art, rather than profit, is their primary motive for making the watches.

“This is a modification. Not plagiarism and not a copy. It is an original that has been worked on to create something new. That's the storytelling we're working on,” Thorleifsson told newspaper Berlingske.

Tal R has said the matter makes him “sad”.

“I see it as someone trying to make money and get attention by making a product out of my art, and that frankly makes me sad,” the artist wrote in comments given to newspaper Politiken last week.

“He acknowledges that whoever purchases one of his works would be at liberty to sell it on or even destroy the work,” the artist’s lawyer, Jørgen Permin, said in October.

“But what he is not obliged to accept is for someone to alter the work and then reintroduce it to the public domain, and particularly not for commercial reasons,” Permin added.

Last week, the parties presented their views to the Maritime and Commercial Court. Judge Mads Bundgaard Larsen has subsequently concluded that a temporary ban should be imposed on cutting up the work for the Letho pair’s intended purposes.

They are “prohibited from cutting, shredding or otherwise changing the painting ‘Paris Chic’ “for use in the manufacture, marketing and supply of watches in Denmark”, the court order states.

Tal R can make the temporary ban permanent by bringing a legal case within the next two weeks, while Thorleifsson and Leivsgard can appeal such a decision, Ritzau reports.

Their lawyer, Heidi Højmark Helveg, told the news agency that they were yet to make a decision in this regard.

READ ALSO: Danish painting sells for record-breaking 31.5 million kroner