The Coin Collector

  • Artist: Vilhelm Hammershøi
  • Creation date: (1904)
  • Object type: Painting

On display: Room 058 The Collection Exhibition - Nordic light


In Vilhelm Hammershøi’s highly atmospheric paintings, both the exteriors and his interiors are swathed in a dreamy and at times melancholic mood. He preferred to paint beautiful, sparsely furnished rooms, often with subdued lighting. Several of the interiors also feature the figure of a woman, who is often completely or partially turned away from the viewer, sometimes sewing, sometimes reading, and sometimes not engaged in a particular activity. The colouring in Hammershøi’s paintings is subdued, with hues of grey or dark green often prominent. His chosen colours and painting technique underscore the introverted, contemplative nature of his art. The interiors were executed in his own home, and it was often his wife who sat for him.

The Coin Collector differs from the typical Hammershøi interiors in that it features a male figure and depicts an evening scene. The window pane in the background is entirely dark, and the room is illuminated solely by two candles placed on the table next to the coin collector, who sits and inspects one of the items in his collection.

Vilhelm Hammershøi developed his distinctive technique and imagery early on, inspired above all by the American-English painter James McNeill Whistler. Hammershøi received both national and international acclaim during his lifetime, but after his death in 1916 he became somewhat forgotten. Since the 1980s, however, his paintings have become popular once more, and today he is one of the most internationally renowned Scandinavian artists from this period.

Text: Vibeke Waallann Hansen

From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0


Vilhelm Hammershøi

Visual artist

Born 1864 in København, Danmark, death 1916 in København, Danmark

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Myntsamleren (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Height: 89 cm
  • Width: 70 cm
  • Depth: 6.8 cm
Motif - type:
Acquired 1953
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Børre Høstland/Hansteen, Anne