Classics on tour 2017

Helene Schjerfbeck: The Convalescent, 1888. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

The Ateneum’s most beloved classics – Helene Schjerfbeck’s The Convalescent (1888) and Eero Järnefelt’s Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) (1893) – toured eleven Finnish art museums, as part of Finland’s centenary year celebrations.

From February 2017 onwards, The Convalescent was on display at the Åland Islands Art Museum in Mariehamn, the Tampere Art Museum, the K.H.Renlund Museum – Provincial Museum of Central Ostrobothnia in Kokkola, the Kemi Art Museum, the Sámi Museum Siida in Inari, and the Rauma Art Museum. Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) was on display at the Turku Art Museum, the Hämeenlinna Art Museum, the Lappeenranta Art Museum, the Joensuu Art Museum Onni, and the Jyväskylä Art Museum. The works toured the art museums in the order mentioned above. The works were on display at each museum for approximately a month.

Helene Schjerfbeck: The Convalescent (1888)

14.2.-12.3. Åland Islands Art Museum
21.3.-23.4. Tampere Art Museum
2.5.-4.6. K.H.Renlund Museum, Kokkola
13.6.-16.7. Kemi Art Museum
25.7.-27.8. Sámi Museum Siida, Inari
5.9.-24.9. Rauma Art Museum

This picture was painted in St. Ives in Cornwall, England. Schjerfbeck visited the region twice in the late 1880s. The painting was included in the Paris Salon the year of its completion under the title Première verdure, or ‘first greenery’. A sick child was a common subject in art at the time, but Schjerfbeck’s painting is also about the return of vitality. The brushwork is lively and the treatment of light is reminiscent of impressionism. The painting was praised in Paris. The reception back home was initially controversial – the picture was considered excessively realistic. However, the Finnish Art Society decided to purchase it, and soon after its completion the painting was acceded to Ateneum’s collection.

Čájáhusa deavsttat davvisámegillii (PDF 458kt)

Eero Järnefelt: Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) (1893)

2.5.-11.6. Turku Art Museum
20.6.-30.7. Hämeenlinna Art Museum
8.8.-10.9. Lappeenranta Art Museum
19.9.-22.10. Joensuu Art Museum Onni
31.10.-10.12. Jyväskylä Art Museum

Burning existing vegetation used to be a common method for making soil fertile for cultivation. Järnefelt partly painted this picture – depicting peasants toiling in Savo – outdoors at a slash-and-burn site. At later stages he also used photographs he had taken of people and landscapes. The European trends of realism and naturalism were also eagerly adopted by Finnish art. Järnefelt specialised in Finnish subjects. This is his most famous work and an icon of the golden age of Finnish art. The poignant motif sparked a debate about the rights of the poor population.

Čájáhusa deavsttat davvisámegillii (PDF 215kt)

Press releases

A survey of Helene Schjerfbeck’s career to open at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2019

The survey is organised by the Royal Academy of Arts in London in collaboration with the Ateneum Art Museum, part of the Finnish National Gallery. It is curated by Jeremy Lewison, Independent Curator and formerly Director of Collections at Tate; Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, Chief…

Read more
On Instagram