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Akseli Gallen-Kallela ‘Ad Astra’ (1907)

With this exposition the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation is celebrating the centenary of Finnish independence. In addition to the art in the Gyllenberg Collection, the exhibition will include 47 key works on loan from the most important art collections in Finland.

The new exhibition presents around a hundred works of art divided into four themes: Melancholic Rooms, Vierge Moderne – Modern Virgins, National Sentiments and The Child in Art. Different background colors accentuate the mood of each theme.

The atmosphere in Finland was at boiling point in the 1890s. Melancholic Rooms reflects the restlessness of the period and the dream of reaching beyond reality.
Key works within this theme include Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s paintings Ad Astra (1907) from the Gyllenberg Collection, The Problem (The Symposium) (1894) on loan from the Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation, and several nude paintings by Magnus Enckell that explore the themes of youth and androgyny. Other highlights include Helene Schjerfbeck’s unique series of brutally honest self-portraits and several of her rare historical paintings.

Women were liberated from their traditional roles as goddesses of love and God-bearers. Key works within the theme Vierge Modern include Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s Madonna (1891), Tyko Sallinen’s Mirri in Green (1911), Pekka Halonen’s After the Guitar Lesson (1894) and Helene Schjerfbeck’s Fragment (1904) and Elegant Lady (c. 1928).

The growing national sentiment was reflected also in landscape paintings: the wilderness waited to be conquered, the struggle of the people was symbolized by a fallen tree or raging rapids. Alongside Gallen-Kallela’s Lake Keitele (1904) Werner Holmberg’s Motif from Toriseva (1859), Eero Järnefelt’s Boulders in the Wilderness (1891), Ellen Thesleff’s Midsummer (1912) and Tyko Sallinen’s Late Winter (1914) all represented the growing national sentiment.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s The Beggar Boy (1887) was one of Ane Gyllenberg’s favourite paintings. Albert Edelfelt’s Boys Playing (1884) in turn is one of the most popular paintings in Finland. Within the theme The Child in Art these paintings are joined by Helene Schjerfbeck’s Girl at the Gate (1897-1902) and The Woodcutter (1910-1911), the latter of which is on loan from the Ateneum Art Museum.

Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation

Yrjönkatu 4A 5

Helsinki | Finland



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