A large-scale oil painting by Pekka Halonen donated to the Ateneum

The Ateneum Art Museum, which is part of the Finnish National Gallery, has received for its collection, from a private donor, a painting by the artist Pekka Halonen, entitled Carrying water (1911). Information about the donation was received in the end of August, and the work will be available for the public to see on Tuesday 5 September. The painting will be on display in the New expression hall of the Stories of Finnish Art exhibition until Sunday 1 October 2017.

“The donation of Pekka Halonen’s painting Carrying water to the Ateneum is an act of great significance. It serves as a reminder of how our national art collection is – and has always been – built in cooperation with private donors”, says the museum director Susanna Pettersson.

Following the donation, the Ateneum collection includes a total of 80 works by Pekka Halonen. Carrying water enriches the collection of works by Halonen, who is known especially for his wintery landscapes, by adding new subject matter and by presenting a more comprehensive picture of the painter’s colourful work in the 1910s. The painting was previously on display at the Ateneum as part of a major exhibition of work by Pekka Halonen, held in 2008. In addition to wintery landscapes, Pekka Halonen’s (1865−1933) most famous works include The Kantele Player (1892), Pioneers in Karelia (1900), Washing on the Ice (1900) and Tomatoes (1913).

The Ateneum curator and expert in Halonen’s art, Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, PhD, will talk about the work at the Stories of Finnish Art exhibition, of which it is part, on Thursday 7 September, from 12:00 to 12:30. Admission is included in the museum entrance fee or with a Museum Card.

Brightly coloured painting captures the everyday life of the Tuusula artist community

The brightly coloured painting depicts Pekka Halonen’s eldest daughter, Anni, fetching water with a blue jug in her hand. The bright green of early summer surrounds the girl, as she poses for her father in the garden, barefooted and wearing a blue dress. Anni often modelled for her father, and at the time of the painting she was 13 years old.

Pekka and Maija Halonen and their family had settled in Tuusula in 1898. Later, they had a log studio built on a narrow cape on the lake, with spectacular views in all directions. This was something that was close to Halonen’s heart as a landscape painter.

During the 1910s, Pekka Halonen had begun to use brighter colours, in keeping with the artistic trends of the time, and his brushwork had become bolder. The mood of the painting reflects the serene times the Halonens spent in Tuusula with the other families in the artist community, the Ahos, the Sibeliuses and the Järnefelts. The togetherness of the community and the flourishing kitchen gardens of the families provided an inspiring setting in which to create new art. Alongside depictions of wintery landscapes and slushy beaches, Halonen’s work began to feature rich colours and subjects set in summery gardens.