Portrait of Frederikke Vilhelmine Hage with Children, 1850
Oil on canvas, 196 x 103 cm
Inventory number: 0244NMK
Acquired in 2021
The portrait shows the mother and two siblings, Vilhelmine “Ville” and Alfred, of the collection’s founder, Johannes Hage. There is a marble bust in the background, created by H. W. Bissen, up against the Pompeian red wall. This is Hother, who was the youngest of the children, but who died at the age of one. Mother and daughter are focused on something outside the frame of the painting, while the son, Alfred, is the one with the most direct gaze. He is holding up a drawing of a pug, perhaps a missing pet.
Vilhelmine “Ville” (1838-1912) was Wilhelm Marstrand’s favourite model from the Hage family, which he painted portraits of for three generations. The first time he painted Ville was in this exact group portrait. Even though she was only 12 years old when the portrait was painted, you get a sense of where she is going with her beautiful radiance. It is said that the composer, Peter Heise, reacted after he saw the painting for the first time by saying: “That’s what my wife will look like.” Nine years after this painting was finished, Ville married Peter Heise, who was the love of her life. They had 20 years together before he died at the age of 49, and Ville Heise lived the rest of her life as a widow.
Her little brother Alfred became a chamberlain and minister of agriculture and inherited Oremandsgaard from his father and his brother Johannes inherited Nivaagaard. It is through Alfred that the Hage family continued since his siblings had no children.
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Wilhelm Marstrand (1810-1873)
Marstrand was among C.W. Eckersberg’s students and was, as the only one, very interested in narrative and illustrative painting. Marstrand worked with genre painting, literary subjects, portraiture and, in later years, history painting. He was frequently employed as a portraitist and painted a series of portraits of members of the Hage family, among others. Marstrand travelled throughout his life in the larger European countries such as Italy, France, Germany and England. He was particularly fascinated by Italy, where he stayed for several years. From here, he became a major producer of peculiar, touching, and often humorous or ironic depictions of the Italian folk life that so fascinated him.