Magnus Enckell is one of the key artists of the golden age of Finnish art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and yet only some of his work is known. The exhibition produced by the Ateneum Art Museum offers a diverse overview of Enckell’s entire oeuvre over five different decades, from the early pieces he created when studying at a drawing school to the mythological works of the 1920s. The artist’s oeuvre is extensive, covering portraits, landscapes, fantasies, religious topics, still lifes, and studies of people. He also created numerous monumental paintings in public spaces, including Tampere Cathedral and the Central Pori Church.
The exhibition, together with its accompanying book, published by the Ateneum, sheds light on the artist’s many facets. Enckell, on the one hand, promoted radical reforms in art, but, on the other, relied on the traditions of culture and education. He was a dreamer, but also an international man of the world, a curator of exhibitions, the chairman of the Artists’ Association of Finland, and a creator of monumental works. Music, theatre, and literature were all important to this diversely educated artist.
The exhibition curators are the director of the Ateneum, Marja Sakari; the director of collections management at the Finnish National Gallery, Riitta Ojanperä; and the chief curator of exhibitions at the Ateneum, Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff. The curator of the version of the exhibition presented at Tampere Art Museum is Tapani Pennanen.