Paul Sinebrychoff and Fanny Grahn, as an engaged couple, 1883. Photographer: Johannes Jaeger. Collection of Archived Photo Prints. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery

Editorial: Celebrating the Milestones

Kirsi Eskelinen, PhD, Museum Director, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum

 

19 November 2021

 

 

The Finnish National Gallery recognises the importance of celebrating key moments in its cultural history. This year marks the centenary jubilee of the donation of Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff Art Collection to the Finnish State. And next spring the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma celebrates the 10th edition of one of the most important shows in its calendar, ARS22, marking 60 years of ARS exhibitions that take the temperature of the contemporary art world.

The Sinebrychoffs’ house museum was opened to the public for the first time on 27 November 1921. At the opening ceremony, the art collection was presented to the political leadership of the young republic. Those in attendance included the President of the Republic and his wife, all of the cabinet ministers, and civil servants from the church and education ministries. The donation was reported widely in the Press. In a newly independent Finland it was a unique and exceptionally grand collection of old European art. The leading art experts of the time praised its artistic level, particularly in terms of the artworks.

The Sinebrychoffs’ house on Bulevardi has seen many changes in the past century. The same can be said of the house museum that it became. The building was last renovated extensively at the end of the 1990s, including a restoration of the rooms on the Bulevardi side to their appearance at the time of the Sinebrychoffs. Black-and-white photographs of the rooms taken by Signe Brander in 1912 made this reconstruction possible. The photographs were used to place the furniture and artworks in the locations they had occupied during the Sinebrychoffs’ lifetimes. The house museum as we know it today opened its doors in early 2003.

The Sinebrychoff Art Museum celebrates the 100th anniversary of the donation with a jubilee publication, which throws light on the house museum as a whole. Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff decorated the rooms on the Bulevardi side of the building in a range of styles. A great deal of Paul Sinebrychoff’s correspondence has been preserved regarding the purchases for the collection, which allows us to envision the planned, long-term process that shaped it. The Sinebrychoffs were very informed about the collection trends and interior decoration fashions of the time, which is visible in many ways in their collection.

The jubilee publication A Bulevardi Home – Art Collectors Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff, includes a collection of scholarly articles. Kari-Paavo Kokki’s essay places Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s house museum in a European context. He examines the possible influences on the rooms, which were decorated in a variety of styles, in relation to contemporary fashion and style trends, but above all, he focuses on individual artefacts and furniture and their details. FNG Research also publishes an interview with him in this issue. Here too we republish another essay from the book, by Reetta Kuojärvi-Närhi, MA, a curator at the Finnish National Gallery, which approaches the collection through the couple’s travels in the 1880s and 1890s, based on Paul Sinebrychoff’s correspondence archive.

Also in the jubilee publication Professor Charlotta Wolff examines Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s collection and art collecting in the frame of reference of late 19th-century Finland. Prof. Wolff visualises the collection itself and its special traits as an expression of its time. Chief Curator of the Sinebrychoff Art Museum Ira Westergård, PhD, delves into the donation of the art collection, and particularly Fanny Sinebrychoff’s role in the donation process, as well as the history of the collection after the donation as far as the outbreak of the Winter War at the end of the 1930s.

The jubilee celebration also marks the inauguration of the renewed display of the permanent collection at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum. Many of the acquisitions made during the past seven years are on show, including recently acquired paintings by Jacopo Bassano, Giorgio Gandini del Grano, Abraham Bloemaert, Salvator Rosa and Henry Raeburn among others. The Friends of the Sinebrychoff Art Museum celebrate their 10th anniversary of activity and all 22 artworks that have been donated by them are on show for this occasion.

As part of the Finnish National Gallery’s international research and exhibition project ‘Gothic Modern’, this issue of FNG Research includes a presentation given earlier this year to the project’s first knowledge sharing workshop. Dr Jeremy Howard’s abstract highlights the influence of the Gothic on Russian art and culture through exploring the metaphor of the vault.

An article by Katariina Johde and Hanne Tikkala explores new approaches to conservation work that they have carried out at the Finnish National Gallery’s Conservation Unit. They highlight the value of research that combines extended observations using the naked eye together with the latest technology in assessing the condition of the much-loved painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake View (1901).

Also in this issue of FNG Research, Saara Hacklin, PhD, curator at Kiasma, follows the work of five printmakers, all alumnae of the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, to explore how the relationship to the human body is manifested in their artworks.

Feeling the pulse of the contemporary art world locally and internationally has been the remit of the ARS exhibitions, which every five years have presented an overview in their thematic shows. Ahead of the 10th edition, ARS22, opening in April at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Gill Crabbe interviews Museum Director Leevi Haapala and Chief Curator João Laia about the research and curation processes involved in creating this landmark exhibition.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to our annual call for research interns for 2022. Applications will be taken until 31 December 2021, and two interns selected by 21 January 2022. Details of how to apply are in this issue.

Featured image: Paul Sinebrychoff and Fanny Grahn, when they were engaged to be married, 1883. Photographer: Johannes Jaeger. Collection of Archived Photo Prints. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery
Public domain. This image of a work of art is released under a CC0 licence, and can be freely used because the copyright (70 full calendar years after the death of the artist) has expired.

Read more — Download FNG Research No. 3/2021 as a PDF

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David Beck (1621−56), studio, Christina, Queen of Sweden, oil on canvas, 68cm x 56cm Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff Collection, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Kirsi Halkola

Art and Travel: The First Steps in the Formation of Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s Collection in 1883–99

Reetta Kuojärvi-Närhi, MA, Curator, Archives and Library Unit, Finnish National Gallery

This is a revised version of the article published in Salla Heino (ed.), Koti Bulevardilla – Keräilijät Paul ja Fanny Sinebrychoff / Ett hem på Bulevarden – Konstsamlarna Paul och Fanny Sinebrychoff / A Bulevardi Home – Art Collectors Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff. Sinebrychoff Art Museum Publications. Helsinki: Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum, 2021. Transl. Mike Garner

Paul Sinebrychoff the Younger (1859–1917) was only 29 years old in 1886 when, with the support of his mother, he took charge of the family-owned brewery. When he had married the actress Fanny Grahn (1862‒1921) three years earlier, he did not yet have responsibility for the family business and the young couple were able to travel abroad and explore art treasures. Thus began a lifelong passion for culture and the Sinebrychoffs started collecting art in the late 1890s and, as a result of nearly thirty years of collecting, in 1921 Fanny Sinebrychoff donated the collection of approximately 900 works to the Finnish State at the joint request of the couple.

During those decades Paul Sinebrychoff used to write letters in the evenings concerning art acquisitions to various specialists, mainly in Sweden, but later in other parts of Europe. The Archives of the Finnish Art Society at the Finnish National Gallery’s Archive Collections contain approximately 1,300 letters and responses to and from Sinebrychoff between 1891 and 1914. My essay explores the way that Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s art collection was formed as a consequence of their journeys to Sweden. The information about those journeys and art acquisitions comes from this research into Paul Sinebrychoff’s correspondence.

An appreciation of the context surrounding these now-digitised letters is of paramount importance in gaining an overview. For example, in analysing Henryk Bukowski’s 19th-century auction catalogues, I was aided by a knowledge of, for instance, Swedish art collectors, their collections, and the sales of individual works of art. My research also covers the Sinebrychoffs’ personal relationships with art historians, antiques dealers, and especially with art collectors. For example, the Sinebrychoffs made their first purchases of artworks directly from artists, collectors and antiques dealers.

Featured image: David Beck (1621−56), studio, Christina, Queen of Sweden, oil on canvas, 68cm x 56cm. Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff Collection, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Kirsi Halkola
Public domain. This image of a work of art is released under a CC0 licence, and can be freely used because the copyright (70 full calendar years after the death of the artist) has expired.

Read more — Download ‘Art and Travel: The First Steps in the Formation of Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s Collection in 1883–99’, by Reetta Kuojärvi-Närhi, as a PDF

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Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Gustavian Room, 2003. Photographer: Arno de la Chapelle. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery

A Collector’s Dream

FNG Research

A new book, A Bulevardi Home – Art Collectors Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff, published by the Finnish National Gallery, celebrates the centenary of the bequest of the Sinebrychoffs’ collection of artworks, furniture and other artefacts to the Finnish Government in 1921. Meanwhile, at their home – now the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Helsinki – the exhibition ‘Collectors on Tour’ presents important collectors who have donated their collections to the FNG. FNG Research discusses the growth of house museums and artefact studies, with Kari-Paavo Kokki, a museum director emeritus and expert in historical styles and artefacts, who has also contributed an essay to the book.

The Sinebrychoffs’ bequest is housed in their house museum on Bulevardi (now part of the Finnish National Gallery), where the rooms on the first floor at the front of the building are shown as Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff had arranged them after moving there in 1904. As part of the centenary celebrations, the house museum is reopening following further renovations to the building. In the temporary exhibitions gallery below the house museum, the exhibition ‘Collectors on Tour’ spotlights significant collections belonging to the Finnish National Gallery and their influence. These collections include those of the Swedish baron Otto Wilhelm Klinckowström (1778–1850), the Italian Renaissance scholar Eliel Aspelin (1847–1917), the forestry magnate Jalo Sihtola (1882–1969), who collected both historic and contemporary works, and the Paris-based millionaire Herman Antell (1847–93) who had a taste for collecting Old Masters.

Featured image: Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Gustavian Room, 2003. Photographer: Arno de la Chapelle. Archive Collections, Finnish National Gallery

Read more — Download ‘A Collector’s Dream’ as a PDF

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Slavs and Tatars, Prayway, 2012, installation. Courtesy the artists and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin Photo: Bernard Kahrmann

Living Encounters: Creating a Landmark ­Contemporary Art Show

Gill Crabbe, FNG Research

Putting together a survey show that takes the pulse of the global art world is a complex task. Ahead of the ARS22 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Gill Crabbe discusses the research and curatorial processes involved with Museum Director Leevi Haapala and Chief Curator João Laia

There’s an old saying that we can become what we dwell on, and this springs to mind following meeting Leevi Haapala, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Chief Curator João Laia. They have been working on the latest in a series of exhibitions, which are held every four to five years in Helsinki to test the water of the contemporary arts scene both nationally and internationally. Each edition of this long-established show is eagerly awaited, with its selection of around 40–50 artists ranging from emerging Finnish artists to global icons, and expectations are high. Hearing Haapala and Laia speak about their vision for ARS22 and the research processes involved, it seems clear that the two of them have been in many ways embodying or exemplifying the vision they have evolved for this landmark exhibition. They are walking the talk.

For the theme around which ARS22 is conceived is mutual empathy, neatly encapsulated in the show’s title ‘Living Encounters’. Looking at the world, as artists do, it is easy to see the processes of social fragmentation (accelerated by Covid-19) and increasing polarisation within the discourses and issues of today, be that politics, ecology, technology, belief systems, gender or race issues – ‘concerns,’ says Haapala ‘that contribute to determining our actions in collective and private spheres’. The vision for ARS22 centres on presenting artworks that individually, collectively or in dialogue with one another, offer the possibility to question or obviate such divisions. With this approach ARS22 sets out to create a ‘renewed way of thinking which acknowledges the complexities of the world as fruitful’ rather than divisive, and provides a ‘forum for sharing experiences and examining issues that touch us all’.

Featured image: Slavs and Tatars, Prayway, 2012, installation. Courtesy the artists and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin
Photo: Bernard Kahrmann

Read more — Download ‘Living Encounters: Creating a Landmark ­Contemporary Art Show’, by Gill Crabbe, as a PDF

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Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake View, 1901, oil on canvas, 84cm x 57cm Photo: Finnish National Gallery /Hannu Pakarinen

Observations on the Painting Technique and Materials Used in the Painting of Lake View, by Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Katariina Johde, Conservator, BA, and Hanne Tikkala, MA, PhD Student, Senior Researcher, Conservation Unit, Finnish National Gallery

A museum visitor observes an artwork on a museum wall on average for a few seconds or minutes. The conservator quickly checks the condition of a painting before and after every exhibition to make sure the condition has remained unchanged during the exhibition. The condition report, with detailed drawings, descriptions and photos, takes perhaps half an hour to make. Would new and noticeable information come to light if one were able to look at the painting for hours with bare eyes, microscopes, in different electromagnetic wavelengths, with different instruments and cameras?

In our day-to-day work as a conservator and a materials researcher, we make observations of the structure and the surface of the paintings in more detail than a regular viewer. In this article we present some aspects regarding the painting technique and the materials of the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s (1865-1931) painting Lake View, from 1901[1] (Fig. 1). Usually, this painting is exhibited in the main collection exhibition in the Ateneum Art Museum and is a very popular work that draws in our museum visitors. In recent years it has often been loaned to exhibitions in Finland and around Europe. Every time it has returned to the Ateneum the research has continued and as a result the painting has been studied very carefully, especially over the past two years.

Originally, we decided to study Lake View more deeply because of its beautiful and informative radiograph (Fig. 2). We had already X-rayed a large number of Gallen-Kallela’s works but as we were analysing the radiograph of Lake View, we started to recognise characteristic features in the brushwork, which appeared repeatedly in his paintings. The radiograph and other analytical photographs of the painting were very illuminating and strengthened our understanding of the artist’s painting technique. However, important new information was also found just by looking at the painting very closely with the naked eye. Markings on the edges and on the reverse of the painting gave us information which led us to visit the archives and to investigate his original painting materials.

[1] Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake View, oil on canvas, 84cm x 57cm, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, A-2010-173.

Featured image: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake View, 1901, oil on canvas, 84cm x 57cm, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Pakarinen
Public domain. This image of a work of art is released under a CC0 licence, and can be freely used because the copyright (70 full calendar years after the death of the artist) has expired.

Read more — Download ‘Observations on the Painting Technique and Materials Used in the Painting of Lake View, by Akseli Gallen-Kallela’, by Katariina Johde and Hanne Tikkala, as a PDF

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Suvi Sysi, Caused Reflection, 2017, installation comprising surplus papers from the printing process, monotype; dimensions vary Photo: Suvi Sysi

Body, Trace, Perception

Saara Hacklin, PhD, Curator, Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

This article was originally published online in Finnish only as ‘Ruumis, jälki, havainto’ in Martta Heikkilä and Annu Vertanen (eds.), Printed matters: merkitysten kerroksia. Helsinki: Academy of Fine Arts, The University of the Arts Helsinki, 2021[1]

How does the artist’s body become a medium and a carrier? How does an author explore his or her relationship to the world by submitting to it? In this article, I examine the practice of five young printmakers: Roma Auskalnyte, Inka Bell, Inma Herrera, Emma Peura and Suvi Sysi. They were all born in the 1980s and 1990s and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki. The works they make take various forms: sculptural installations, performances, videos and reliefs. Yet all share a strong connection with the tradition of printmaking.

In this article I investigate the ways in which the relationship to the human body is reflected in their artworks. From this viewpoint I trace a relationship to the world, where the artist is exposed to different materialities and open to the surrounding world. The artworks discussed bring forth themes of perception, memories and different materialities, as well as questions of language and technology. What unites the artworks is their ability to reach towards the other, be it a matter of thinking in other ways, looking at history from another angle and thinking about our way of being in another way.

[1] To access the book in Finnish, visit http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe202102053929.

Featured image: Suvi Sysi, Caused Reflection, 2017, installation comprising surplus papers from the printing process, monotype; dimensions vary
Photo: Suvi Sysi

Read more — Download ‘Body, Trace, Perception’, by Saara Hacklin, as a PDF

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Isaak Rabinovich, The Martian City. Still from the silent film Aelita, 1924, directed by Yakov Protazanov. Courtesy of the BFI National Archive

Gothic Modern Sensibilities: Vaults of Matter and Spirit via a Russian Arch

Dr Jeremy Howard, Deputy Head of School of Art History, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Strange as it may seem Gothic never died. Appropriately perhaps it has been living in an art-historical netherworld where the struggling forces of formal modernism and social realism seem to have reigned for nigh on a century. Yet the very struggle of these forces belies the place, and strength, of the Gothic: in their attempts to suppress it, the different parties acknowledged both its grip and its mystery. Let our conception of the Gothic Modern be one of vaults. For vaults, as we know, are underground chambers for the living, dead and treasured, as well as arched structures and the heavens. The pointed rib vault, from four-part to stellar and fan, represents the dynamic span of Gothic. Of course vault also means vigorous leap and, with that, transcendence. Here we focus on Gothic Modern’s Russian vaults.

We can conceive our vaults as vessels of matter and spirit. On the one hand they are grounded in craft and collectivity, this while simultaneously being celestially aspirant, a romantic questing for spiritual uplift. On the other, they are dark and decadent, an irrational foray into horror and descent. They can offer the sublime and the grotesque. Urged on by the writings of Wilhelm Worringer, Richard Sterba, Josef Strzygowski and Karl Scheffler, among many others, our vaults are identifiable in artworks from seemingly disparate movements and centres. So far from just spanning inflections of Expressionism and Surrealism, they cross Cubism, Constructivism and the International Style, while deriving much of their esprit from Symbolism and Art Nouveau. In the spirit of the Gothic Modern vault let us move backwards to move forwards, let us spring from a subversive alliance of bold post-revolutionary avant-garde architectonics to fin-de-siècle painterly anxieties and apparitions (and back).

Featured image: Isaak Rabinovich (1894-1961), The Martian City, still from the silent film Aelita, 1924, directed by Yakov Protazanov. Courtesy of the BFI National Archive

Read more — Download ‘Gothic Modern Sensibilities: Vaults of Matter and Spirit via a Russian Arch’, by Jeremy Howard, as a PDF

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Call for Research Interns 2022

Finnish National Gallery
Call for Research Interns 2022

The Finnish National Gallery wishes to stimulate new interest in research topics based on its resources and collections and possible forthcoming exhibitions in its three museums. It also wishes to be an active and innovative partner in collaborating with the academic scene in reinforcing humanistic values and the importance of understanding the world and human culture by creating new, meaningful and relevant knowledge.

For this purpose the Finnish National Gallery organises a research internship programme for master’s-level art or cultural history students internationally.

The programme has two aims. The Finnish National Gallery wishes to enhance the study of its collections including artworks, archives, and objects. At the same time it wishes to support students who choose to write their master’s level theses on subjects based on physical collections and objects, archive material and data and develop their practical skills for utilising archival material in research.

In 2022 the Finnish National Gallery is prepared to receive three research interns.

The internship period is three months with the intern under contract to the Finnish National Gallery. The salary is equivalent to the salary of university trainees.

The intern chooses in advance the material of the Finnish National Gallery collections that he/she wishes to study, and agrees on studying it during the internship period. It is desirable that the material will form part of the intern’s thesis. The intern is required, during the period of their internship, to write a text in English, based on the material and the research done at the National Gallery. The text may be published in one of the sections of the FNG Research web magazine.

Each intern will have an in-house professional tutor at the Finnish National Gallery. The tutor and the intern will meet on average weekly.

The Finnish National Gallery is not responsible for the academic supervision of the intern’s master’s thesis. The role of the National Gallery is to support the intern’s skills in collections research practices.

Are you interested? If so, please send your application by e-mail to fngr@nationalgallery.fi or by post to FNG Research, Senior Researcher Hanna-Leena Paloposki, Kaivokatu 2, 00100 Helsinki, Finland.

Applications can be written in English, Finnish or Swedish.

The deadline for applications is 31 December 2021 and the appointments will be announced by 21 January 2022.

The interns are appointed by the FNG Research editorial board.

For more information about the application process and programme, please click on the link below:

How to apply for the research internship programme at the Finnish National Gallery for master’s-level art and cultural history students >>

Ilya Repin, Double Portrait of Natalia Nordmann and Ilya Repin, 1903, oil on canvas, 78.5cm x 130cm. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenny Nurminen

Editorial: Past, Present and Future

Marja Sakari, PhD, Museum Director, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum

 

31 May 2021

 

This edition of FNG Research is looking to the past, present and future. The future is opened up in two major research projects – ‘Gothic Modern’ and ‘Pioneering women artists’. The two initiators of the Gothic Modern project, Chief Curator, Dr Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, from the Ateneum Art Museum and Dr Juliet Simpson, Professor of Art History at Coventry University, are spearheading an international endeavour to rethink the development of a specifically Nordic Modernism at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, having its inspiration in the northern Gothic and Renaissance. The project is concentrating on illuminating the Gothic as a core fascination for late 19th- and early 20th-century art that crossed cultural borders, transcended nationalism and straddled war and its aftermath. The sources of inspiration for artists of that time can be traced to some exhibitions and to specific artists, such as Lucas Cranach and Hans Holbein.

Influences were also a political issue, as shown by Dr Krista Kodres, who in her article sheds light on the Estonian historiographical undertones shaping the understanding of Gothic art and architecture in Estonia. In her article, which is an extended abstract of her lecture given at the Gothic Modern knowledge sharing workshop in March of this year, she is asking how in different periods art-historical writing has formulated the understanding of cultural heritage. The basic question she asks is whether the artistic results of medieval and Renaissance art were nationally unique, or were they just copying the ‘trend-setting centres’, located mainly in German cities. The aim of some local art historians in Estonia was to demonstrate that the Baltic-Nordic region created its own independent art forms, an idea that challenged the view that Hanseatic German art was the predominant influence in this region.

Dr Anne-Maria Pennonen presents the recently launched international research project concerning women artists in the mid-19th century from Finland, Nordic and Baltic countries and Germany. What were the routes of inspiration for these artists, where did they study and what kind of networks did they form during their years of study?

In this issue we also present the results of a three-month research internship at the Finnish National Gallery undertaken by MA student Emmi Halmesvirta, who examines a much more recent artist, namely Juhana Blomstedt (1937–2010). Halmesvirta took as her starting point the archive material and sketches in the Finnish National Gallery collection related to Juhana Blomstedt’s career in the period 1970–80. Blomstedt’s art-theoretical thinking during the 1970s seems to revolve around questions of form, content, expression, abstraction, subjectivity, truth and optics. In his art he was somehow distancing himself from the high modernist demand for purity, even if his art could be categorised as being part of the constructivist tradition.

The Director of the Sinebrychoff Art Museum Kirsi Eskelinen writes about the provenance of a painting by Jacopo Bassano (c. 1510–92), Virgin and Child with John the Baptist and St Anthony the Abbot, which is housed in the museum’s collection. It is a republication of her article from 1992 but in connection with it, we are for the first time publishing images of the details on the back of the frame moulding. These give some important clues about the provenance of the artwork. The Museum has plans for a monographic exhibition on Jacopo Bassano in the near future, which makes it even more relevant to republish and expand on this article.

Two articles in this issue are focusing on the current exhibition of Ilya Repin at the Ateneum Art Museum: Chief Curator Timo Huusko’s essay on the Russian artist’s relationship to Finland, and an updated article by curator Helena Hätönen on the archival material related to Repin in the Archive Collections of the Finnish National Gallery, first published in the catalogue of the Kadriorg Art Museum’s Repin exhibition which took place in Tallinn in 2013.

The Ateneum Art Museum’s curators Hanne Selkokari and Anu Utriainen have been interviewed in connection with the exhibition ‘Among Forests and Lakes: Landscape Masterpieces from the Finnish National Gallery’, which is now on display at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle.

Dr Harri Kalha’s interview in this issue is connected with the exhibition of Magnus Enckell, which unfortunately had to be closed just a few weeks after its opening in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, this exhibition is continuing in the Tampere Art Museum in a slightly smaller version this autumn.

I hope you will enjoy these diverse articles from different sectors of art history.

Featured image: Ilya Repin, Double Portrait of Natalia Nordmann and Ilya Repin, 1903, oil on canvas, 78.5cm x 130cm. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenny Nurminen
Public domain. This image of a work of art is released under a CC0 licence, and can be freely used because the copyright (70 full calendar years after the death of the artist) has expired.

Read more — Download FNG Research No. 2/2021 as a PDF

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Featured image: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Death and the Flower, woodcut, 9.5cm x 5.5cm Antell Collections, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis

Gothic Modern

Albrecht Dürer, St Sebastian Bound to the Tree, 1500–02, engraving, 11.5cm x 7.1cm Antell Collections, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Pakarinen
Albrecht Dürer, St Sebastian Bound to the Tree, 1500–02, engraving, 11.5cm x 7.1cm
Antell Collections, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Pakarinen Creative Commons – Copyright free

The international research and exhibition project Gothic Modern has been launched by the Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. The project schedule spans 2018 to 2025. ‘Gothic Modern: from Medieval and Northern Renaissance to Dark, Emotive, Uncanny Modern Art’ explores the pivotal importance of Gothic art for the artistic modernisms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries

  • An ambitious new approach to modern art focusing on the untold story of Nordic and Northern European medieval reinventions from the 1890s to the fall of the Weimar Republic.
  • Illuminates the Gothic as a core fascination for late 19th and early 20th-century art, crossing cultural borders, transcending nationalism, straddling war and its aftermath.
  • Reveals a hidden aspect of the work of Edvard Munch and Käthe Kollwitz through their deep attraction to the art of the ‘Gothic’ past, as well as how this resonated for their contemporaries, such as Theodor Kittelsen, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Hugo Simberg and Helene Schjerfbeck.
  • Explores how these artists were inspired by medieval art through pilgrimages, eroticism and the ‘Dance of Death’ to create powerful new expressions of artistic and cultural identity: of sexuality and trauma; death and reconnection.
  • The focus is on major fin-de-siècle and early 20th-century Nordic, German and Russian artworks alongside rare medieval and Northern Renaissance objects
  • A compelling exploration of the Gothic for the 21st century, concerning the individual, gender, difference and transnational community, entwined with the dark, the emotive and uncanny, as well as connected cultures, places and new spaces of art.
    (Juliet Simpson, 2021)

Guest Curator
Professor Dr Juliet Simpson, Professor of Art History, and Chair of Visual Art and Cultural Memory, Coventry University, UK, juliet.simpson@coventry.ac.uk

Project Leader, Ateneum Art Museum – Finnish National Gallery
Dr Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, Chief Curator of exhibitions and research, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, abonsdor@fng.fi

Partners
National Museum, Oslo and Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin


Hugo Simberg, Boy from Säkkijärvi, 1897, oil on canvas, 31.3cm x 43.5cm Ester and Jalo Sihtola Fine Arts Foundation Donation, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Janne Mäkinen
Hugo Simberg, Boy from Säkkijärvi, 1897, oil on canvas, 31.3cm x 43.5cm
Ester and Jalo Sihtola Fine Arts Foundation Donation, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Janne Mäkinen
Creative Commons – Copyright free

Gothic Modern News and Upcoming Events

Forthcoming – Autumn 2021

  • ‘Gothic Connections and Connectors – Afterlives of Medieval Art in the Baltic and Nordic Countries: 1870s–1920s’, international research conference, organised by Prof. Juliet Simpson and Dr Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, in the Ateneum Art Museum / Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, Autumn 2021

Gothic Modern Publications – FNG Research New Online Series

Featured image: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Death and the Flower, woodcut, 9.5cm x 5.5cm
Antell Collections, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis
Public domain. This image of a work of art is released under a CC0 licence, and can be freely used because the copyright (70 full calendar years after the death of the artist) has expired.

Read more — Download ‘Gothic Modern’ as a PDF

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