Discovery of a hidden masterpiece by Valdemar Schønheyder Møller
Valdemar Schoenheyder Moller. Winter landscape in sunlight, 1885
On a recent trip to a client's summerhouse, tasked with evaluating the art in it, we accidentally discovered this painting in a stairwell. The owners had no idea that it was in fact an early piece by Valdemar Schønheyder Møller (1864-1905), an important figure of the Danish art scene in the late 19th century. Schønheyder Møller was pretty much forgotten but recently his importance and significance has again come to light, mostly due to his connection to Vilhelm Hammershøi and a recent exhibition and newfound research by Den Hirschsprungske Samling.
Schønheyder Møller's signature and dating '85'
As far as we know this is the first known oil painting by the artist. Having painted such a striking landscape at the age of 21, his talent and direction is already clear from the beginning of his career. It is also almost unbelievable, that at such a young age, he had already found his artistic trademark. Schønheyder Møller is known for his landscapes in backlight, as seen here, where the trees cast a light shadow into the foreground. The painting is a shining example of melancholy and light of Nordic art from the 2nd half of the 19th century. The painting exhibits exactly what Schønheyder Møller is known for with light being the primary subject, and more specifically backlight, a source of light that floods the viewer
Throughout his life Schønheyder Møller was challenged with being manic depressive, and in his later years he started losing his eye sight. He died at only 41 in 1905, having spent the final years of his life in a mental hospital. Schønheyder Møller was always trying to capture the magic of light.
It is speculated that the painting was originally acquired by an eye doctor who treated Schønheyder Møller in his last years. Møller was, like his friend and colleague, Vilhelm Hammershøi, fascinated by the natural properties of light and dedicated to capturing its beauty, as witnessed by this magnificent piece.
The painting is sold.
Sign up for our newsletter, and stay updated on the latest articles and news from Københavns Kunsthandel. You can sign up at the bottom of our front page.