Season’s Featured Artist

Albert Edelfelt, Parisienne Reading, 1880. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, coll. Antell. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Antti Kuivalainen

Albert Edelfelt: Parisienne Reading (1880)

Albert Edelfelt’s painting Parisienne Reading was long exhibited at Smolna, a Finnish state banquet hall on Helsinki’s Eteläesplanadi (South Esplanade), designed by Carl Ludvig Engel in 1822. During Smolna’s renovation, the painting has been returned to the Ateneum for display. The painting will be on show until May 2019.

The painting portrays a woman known as Virginie, who modelled for Edelfelt. It was painted in 1880, when Edelfelt had lived in Paris for six years. Virginie’s story has been the subject of much speculation. The sculptor Ville Vallgren, a friend of Edelfelt’s, said in the 1930s that Virginie had been Edelfelt’s lover and had two children by him. They could not however marry, as Finnish class society would not have allowed it.


You can find the work by the season’s featured artist in the archive room of the collection exhibition, complete with archival research materials, such as photographs and letters.

More information on the works and artists from the Finnish National Gallery Collections web service.

Stories of Finnish Art. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

Stories of Finnish Art. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

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