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March 23, 2022

Mid-Morning Art Thread [Kris]

Ilsted Interior1.jpg

Interior with a White Chair
Peter Vilhelm Ilsted

This work is a deceptively simple composition of a dimly lit interior with subdued colors. Ilsted split the work into two halves—the empty chair and table in front of the wall on the right, and the receding rooms on the left. The leading edge of the open door forms the vertical dividing line that separates the very different, but perfectly balanced halves.

The forward room in which the viewer stands a plain, weathered shade of brown. No pictures or shelving hang on the wall or provide decoration. The door, door jamb, and bench to the very left are all of a similar shade and intensity of the wall. The open doorway breaks up the monotony, revealing more space, more light, and more drama.

In the first room beyond, the stark, flat tan is replaced by the checkerboard floor. Although still composed of neutral hues, the pattern pops. The black and white provide a visual contrast to the rest of the work, BUT Ilsted kept this device to a minimum because it is SO vastly different to the bareness of the main room. This small area is enough to attract the eye but not enough to dominate its attention. Instead the lines of the tiles lead the eye into the third room. In the lower corner of this space, there is also a bright patch of light, presumably from a window. It also contrasts with the dimness of the rest of the interior space. This light, however, matches and balances the lamp light in the back room.

This last room is a mixture of the front and middle rooms. While the color scheme is similar to the foreground space, its décor, with its geometric forms, matches the checkerboard room. It anchors the entire piece and unifies this part of the painting. Its furniture and lighting create a warm, bright, and comfortable atmosphere that the other two rooms lack.

The right half of the painting is very different. It continues the simplicity of the extreme left of the painting, and is very one-dimensional—except for that chair. While a similar tone as the tans and browns around it, the off-white, almost pale yellow make it glow. The white/yellow is the same color as the white tiles of the checkerboard floor in the next room. The back slats mimic the alternating black and white of the tiles, AND the lines the tiles make across the floor. The shape of the chair is noteworthy too. Except for the one edge of the bench to the far left (which is almost unnoticeable), it is the only curvilinear object in the entire house. Even the woman stands tall and upright in the doorway. This, combined with the intense color, makes the chair radiate. The intensity of its color then serves to make the chair “push out” into the viewing space. The flat picture space suddenly has dimension. This visual power makes the open door more important. Close the door in your mind. The eye cannot escape that chair. With the open door, and its patterns and shapes and lights, the chair mellows out and calms down. The receding space of the doorway and its rooms push against the forward motion of the chair. Additionally, the light in the back room—which is also the same tone as the chair—and the human figure in the doorway create another light-and-dark grouping, balancing the entire work.

To me, the figure in the doorway, silhouetted by the light, adds more warmth to this painting. She looks like she just opened the door to that room (her hand is still on the knob). The room’s lamp is off to the side, behind the wall and hidden from the viewer. Someone else seems to be in the room and this woman is having a conversation with this unknown person. The mood is calm and domestic, and, despite its bleakness, the house is lived in and cared for.


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posted by Open Blogger at 09:30 AM

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