A conversation in Troense
Oil on canvas, 1889
Signed and dated on lower right Peter Ilsted 1889
43.5 x 60.5 cm
Auction, Charlottenborg, 7-8 December 1914, lot 91; Private collection, Denmark
This brilliant work depicts a beautiful relax sunny day in the village of Troense, on the island of Tåsinge, a very popular destination in Denmark at the end of the 19th century. The composition displays a man wearing a captain’s hat is leaning against a wooden fence, hands in his pockets; n ext to him, another man is sitting on the fence, engaged in a conversation with a woman wearing a blue dress with a red scarf. They are enclosed in a idyllic setting made of a little white house, masts in the harbour, white sails on the see, shadows on the road, big green leafy trees, and a blue, almost cloudless sky.
Ilsted painted this view twice in 1889. This is the larger version. The vivid brushstroke and pleasant atmosphere in this painting are characteristic for Ilsteds’ paintings of this early period in his career. Trained as an artist at the Royal Academy of Arts in Copenhagen, with his friend Vilhelm Hammershøi, Ilsted followed the Danish tradition in portraiture and landscape painting for which he gained considerable attention. In 1889, the year he painted A conversation in Troense, Ilsted exhibited works at the Salon in Paris and received an honourable mention, followed by a medal the year after. On could relate the atmosphere to some Caillebotte works, views of riversides and sailing boats. The construction of plans, the foreground and the middle-distance, is very particular too. Plays of light and textural expression are keys features of his work.
Later, and from 1891, Ilsted started painting scenes of women in interiors, certainly under influence of his more progressive brother-in-law Hammershøi, and their close friend Carl Holsøe, all three the most important figures in the art in Denmark at the end of the 19th century. His work was greatly appraised and regularly exhibited in Denmark and abroad during his life-time, and works are now in museums such as the ARos Museum in Aarhus, Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, Rijksmuseum, Musée d’Orsay or The Metropolitan Museum of Art.