Kirsi Eskelinen, PhD, Museum Director, Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum
30 November, 2023
This issue of FNG Research concentrates on the research behind the two recently opened exhibitions, ‘Peder Balke – The Spell of the Arctic’, at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum and ‘Colour & Light – The Legacy of Impressionism’, at the Ateneum Art Museum. The first is a monographic exhibition of the Norwegian painter Peder Balke (1804–87), which is presented to a Finnish audience for the first time. An important exhibition had taken place at the National Gallery in London in 2014, but the Norwegian painter of the Romantic era still remains less well-known internationally. Balke was fascinated by Arctic landscapes. Following his trip to the North Cape in the 1830s, he repeatedly depicted his visions of the north for the rest of his life. Balke was open-minded and experimental in his painting technique. His late output becomes almost abstract. Gill Crabbe interviews the co-curator of the exhibition Dr philos. Knut Ljøgodt, who is Director of the Nordic Institute of Art, about the concept and the aim of the show. The exhibition at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum is a collaboration with the Institute.
In October the Ateneum Art Museum opened the exhibition ‘Colour & Light – The Legacy of Impressionism’. In her article ‘Echoes of Impressionism in Finland’, Dr Marja Sakari, the museum’s Director, writes about one of the starting points for the ’Colour & Light’ exhibition: why the effects of Impressionism were not seen in Finnish art until the first two decades of the 20th century. Her article concentrates on the French and Belgian art exhibition that was organised at the Ateneum in 1904. The senior advisor to the exhibition is Professor Anthea Callen, who is interviewed in this issue by Gill Crabbe. Prof Callen discusses her role in contributing to the project, including her research into the Impressionist and Neoimpressionist works that Finnish artists were exposed to, and brings her particular expertise in the material culture of western European artists of the period.
The Ateneum Art Museum is actively promoting research work on its collections in conjunction with its upcoming exhibitions. At the moment there are several joint research projects being undertaken with international partners at the Finnish National Gallery. In the spring of this year the Ateneum organised a seminar as a part of an international research project called Gothic Modern, which aims to share and exchange ideas for a scientific publication in connection with the exhibition taking place on this theme in the autumn of 2024. Gill Crabbe met Dr Ralph Gleis, one of the participants of the seminar in Helsinki. Dr Gleis has been Director of the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin for several years, and was recently appointed Director of the Albertina in Vienna, a post he is taking up in 2025. The interview with Dr Gleis gives a good grounding in the four-year research project and its goals.
Another international research project, which is underway at the Finnish National Gallery concerns ‘Pioneering Women Artists’. Its first conference ‘Crossing Borders: Transnational Networks of Pioneering Women Artists’ was held in September at the Ateneum Art Museum. The project will culminate in a scholarly publication and an exhibition in Helsinki at the Ateneum, which will also travel to the Düsseldorf Kunstpalast, in 2025.
Meanwhile, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum is preparing a major exhibition in Helsinki on the great Venetian Renaissance Master Jacopo Bassano. Scheduled for September 2024, this monographic show presents Bassano’s work for the first time in Europe outside Italy. The exhibition includes several less well-known paintings and rare drawings executed in coloured chalks. The curators of the exhibition are Dr Kirsi Eskelinen and Dr Claudia Caramanna, both of whom are Bassano scholars.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to our annual call for research interns for 2024. Applications will be taken until 31 December 2023, and the two interns selected will be announced on 15 January 2024. Details of how to apply are in this issue.
Featured image: Hiroshige, Gio Temple in Snow, Geishas Greeting each other in Snowfall before the Temple Gate, undated, woodblock print, 23.8cm x 36.9cm (paper)
Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen
Read more — Download FNG Research No. 3/2023 as a PDF