Hugo Simberg, Spring Evening, Ice Break, 1897, oil on canvas, 27cm x 37cm. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

Finnish Landscapes on Tour

As the Finnish National Gallery takes an exhibition of Finnish landscape to the United States, Anu Utriainen and Hanne Selkokari from the Ateneum Art Museum discuss its themes with Leslie Anderson of the National Nordic Museum in Seattle to gain a deeper insight and context for the show.

This interview is originally made for and published in Nordic Kultur 2021/22, the Magazine of the National Nordic Museum, Seattle

The exhibition ‘Among Forests and Lakes: Landscape Masterpieces from the Finnish National Gallery’, which opens at the National Nordic Museum in May 2021[1], examines on a wide scale how Finnish artists have depicted the landscape of their native country. The show spans a period of over 100 years from the 1850s to the 1970s, and includes Finnish landscapes from the coast and archipelago in the south to the fells of Lapland and the Arctic Ocean in the North. It celebrates the sophistication of the Finnish art establishment and the concurrent development of the landscape genre through more than 50 paintings, prints, and video art.

The exhibition includes a range of landscape depictions, from idealised views completed in the artist’s studio to realistic scenes painted en plein air and visual expressions of the landscape in a modern artistic language. Organised into four themes, the exhibition also considers the role that landscapes played in the creation of a nation and a national identity.

International research projects and exhibitions form a significant part of the Finnish National Gallery’s operations, both in Europe and overseas. The Ateneum Art Museum has previously worked with Scandinavia House in New York, which served as the first venue of the FNG’s Modern Woman project in 2017. Since then, the show has been exhibited in several cities in Europe as well as further afield in Tokyo.

[1] https://www.nordicmuseum.org/exhibition/forestsandlakes

Featured image: Hugo Simberg, Spring Evening, Ice Break, 1897,
oil on canvas, 27cm x 37cm. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen
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.

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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

Enckell for Artists – Associations, Support, Acquisitions

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.[1]

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