Hanne Selkokari, PhD, Curator, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum
Also published in Hanne Selkokari (ed.), Magnus Enckell 1870−1925. Ateneum Publications Vol. 141. Helsinki: Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, 2020. Transl. Don McCracken
In addition to his career as an artist, Magnus Enckell made a significant contribution to the Artists’ Association of Finland and the Finnish Art Society’s Commission and Scholarship Committee, and here he was able to influence both the status of artists and acquisitions for the national art collection. At the same time, in the 1910s, Enckell’s closest peer friends and allies held the most important posts in the art field: Yrjö Hirn was a professor of aesthetics, Sigurd Frosterus a critic, art expert and collector; and the architect Gustaf Strengell and then the art historian Torsten Stjernschantz served as the Finnish Art Society chief curators responsible for acquisitions and the exhibitions policy.
Enckell was inducted into the Artists’ Association of Finland in 1896. At that time, the Association had more than 40 years of history as an organisation for artists, but it was not until the 1880s that the artists wrested control from the founding members, such as the long-standing Chair Zachris Topelius. One background reason for Enckell gaining membership may have been that his key supporter was Albert Edelfelt, who was the Association’s Chair in the 1890s and who had previously paved the way for Enckell by giving him various opportunities and roles in the art field. Another important reason for Enckell’s membership was that the responsibility for organising exhibitions had been transferred from the Finnish Art Society to the Artists’ Association of Finland. Enckell was regularly involved in these exhibitions. His teacher Gunnar Berndtson had also served as the Association’s Chair from 1892−93.
 On the Finnish Art Society’s chief curators, see e.g. Olli Valkonen. ‘Maalaustaide vuosisadan vaihteesta itsenäisyyden aikaan’, in ARS – Suomen taide 5. Helsinki: Otava / Weilin+Göös, 1990, (174−217) 205.
 For background events, see Hanne Selkokari. 150 vuotta kuvataiteilijoiden puolesta. Suomen Taiteilijaseura – Finska Konstnärsgillet i Finland. Helsinki: Suomen Taiteilijaseura, 2016, 11−13.
Featured image: Magnus Enckell, sketch for a Petition by the Finnish Art Society, undated, watercolour on paper, 12cm x 33cm, Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Henri Tuomi
Read more — Download ‘Enckell for Artists – Associations, Support, Acquisitions’, by Hanne Selkokari, as a PDF