What is-and what is it she thinks, this lady at the window, a view – almost watched – from a different room than his? Who are these people stark as a jury of pastors, only lit by a candle and that we consider? Why the Danish Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916) painted-there never the gaze of his mother, and then he multiplied the profiles wise to it? And what is the interest other than their viduité is there in these landscapes, green fields faded, and the skies uniformly gray, with in the distance a row of trees across the composition? Finally, his depictions of St Peter’s church of Copenhagen, a building which has exceptionally entered from the outside, are they for anything other than their horizontal and their vertical, their cubes, and their cylinders?

” READ ALSO – Hammershoi, right to the sketch

At the Musée Jacquemart-André, Jean-Loup Champion, exhibition curator when he is not director of publishing art books with Gallimard, his little idea that answers all these questions. When one knows that the artist alternated between either group scenes, landscapes, nudes and interior scenes, pictures for the delight of a small group and those done at the salons in the most popular of Europe, the course that he has built offers a real dramatic progression. It file right to the pure painting.

“What makes me choose a motif, it is first of all the lines”

Vilhelm Hammershoi

The most beautiful paintings, the most radical, the most pure, can be found as well in the last rooms. Tone blue-green or brown, almost monochrome, are almost most of the scenes. Any story, even the most trivial, even the most insignificant, even embryonic or partial, has come to be subtracted.

“Inside. Strandgade 30”, of Vilhelm Hammershoi, 1901. Städel Museum/ARTOTHEK

Death at the age of 51, Hammershoi appears, therefore, as the cousin-old Mondrian. Or even the missing link between a Vermeer and a Barnett Newman. Before the silence of the interior as spartan as a humble ray of sun crosses, the face of suspended time that his painting exudes, contaminated by this melancholy general, we end well satisfied to classify this figurative among the founding fathers of geometric abstraction.

“What makes me choose a motif, it is first of all the lines”, has entrusted the master of sobriety to the point that it is not signed its work. It is believed, while you add up its numbers of doors and parts, its small square windows ( Court Strandgade , 30, 1905) or its officers to the walls of parts deserted ( Ray of sunshine in the living room III , 1903). All of these are squares or rectangles sparkly. In short, “this is a work slow and of long duration”, as wrote the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. It should be added that the Danish is ideal for someone who intends to contemplate and meditate on the world in that he has more essential.

“Hammershoi, the master of the painting Danish”. Musée Jacquemart-André. 158, bd Haussmann (VIIIe). Tel.:01 45 62 11 59. Opening hours: everyday from 10 h to 18 h; lun jq 20: 30. Until 22 July. Catalogue: Mercator, 176 p., 35 € .