Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Wild Angelica, 1889, oil on canvas, 103 cm x 56 cm, August and Lydia Keirkner Fine Arts Collection, Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

Conferences: Changes in Visual Culture – Japanomania in the Nordic Countries 1875–1918

19 February 2016

In connection with the exhibition ‘Japanomania in the Nordic Countries 1875-1918’ (18 Feb-15 May), the Ateneum Art Museum organised an international conference on 19 February, 2016.

Featured image: Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Wild Angelica, 1889, oil on canvas, 103cm x 56cm, August and Lydia Keirkner Fine Arts Collection, Ateneum Art Museum.
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

Download the Programme of ‘Changes in Visual Culture – Japanomania in the Nordic Countries 1875–1918’ Conference as a PDF >>

 

Helene Schjerfbeck, Self-Portrait, Black Background, 1915. Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen.

Conferences: Contemporary Takes on Helene Schjerfbeck

Ateneum Art Museum Research Conference

21 April 2015

A professional seminar, held in the Ateneum Hall, took a deep dive into the research that is being conducted on Helene Schjerfbeck both in Finland and internationally.

The seminar was in English and open for all.

Conference Programme

Helene Schjerfbeck: The Brightest Pearl of the Ateneum’s Collection

Susanna Pettersson, PhD, Museum Director, Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery

Published in Helene Schjerfbeck, Reflections. Edited by Naoki Sato. Tokyo: Kyuryodo Publishing, 2015, 202–205.

Helene Schjerfbeck is one of the most important artists in the Ateneum Art Museum’s collection. Today, her works arouse unreserved admiration the world over. Schjerfbeck is associated with vision, integrity and the notion of blazing one’s own trail. She saw what others were doing but did what she wanted to do – regardless of public response.

However, Schjerfbeck’s position in the European, Nordic or even Finnish art field was not always so self-evident. When she was born in 1862, Finland was a Grand Duchy of Russia. The populace spoke Swedish, Finnish and Russian, while the intelligentsia who had travelled widely in Central Europe also spoke French fluently. Literature, theatre and music blossomed. Yet the situation was different when it came to art. There was not a single public art collection in the country, the number of private art collectors could be counted on the fingers of one hand and the few exhibitions that had been held were relatively modest.

This article focuses on the history of the acquisitions of Schjerfbeck’s works, primarily in regard to the collection of the Finnish Art Society, which formed the basis of the Ateneum Art Museum/Finnish National Gallery collection. One could assume that the acquisitions made for the collection reveal something essential about the expectations surrounding the artist, the artistic concepts of the day and how they changed. Schjerfbeck was recognised early on as a highly gifted artist – so we may well consider how this is reflected in the history of the collection.

Featured image: Helene Schjerfbeck, Self-Portrait, Black Background, 1915. Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

Read More — Download ‘Helene Schjerfbeck: The Brightest Pearl of the Ateneum’s Collection’ by Susanna Pettersson as a PDF

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Helene Schjerfbeck: Biography writes the Artist and her Art

Marja-Terttu Kivirinta, PhD, Art Historian, University of Helsinki

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Helene Schjerfbeck and the Darkness in her Paintings: From The Door to Three Pears on a Plate

Lena Holger, Art Historian, Author, Stockholm

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Self-Portraits as Anti-Portraits: The Universalism of Helene Schjerfbeck’s Art

Bettina Gockel, Professor of Art History, Chair, History of Fine Arts, University of Zürich

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Me, Myself and Everyone: Perspectives on Helene Schjerfbeck’s (Self-)Portraits

Annika Landmann, PhD Candidate, Art Historian, University of Hamburg

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Mood, Masks, and Melancholy – On Emotion in the Art of Helene Schjerfbeck

Marie Christine Tams, PhD Candidate, University of the Arts, Berlin

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Art and Fashion: Schjerfbeck’s Modern Women

Marja Lahelma, Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Edinburgh

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Helene Schjerfbeck – Painting the Immaterial and Eternal

Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, PhD, Chief Curator, Ateneum Art Museum

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Magnus Enckell, Boy With Skull, 1893. Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis.

Conferences: AAH Annual Conference 2015, Norwich

Finnish National Gallery’s Contribution

Grey Matters

Interview by Gill Crabbe

For many years, Dr Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, Chief Curator of the Ateneum Art Museum, has taken part in the Association of Art Historians’ conferences. Here, she discusses the paper she gave at this year’s conference in Norwich, in the session on Shades of Grey

Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff is something of a pioneer in Finnish art-historical circles. Since 2007 she has been a keen participant in the conferences of the Association of Art Historians which are a platform for art historians to present their research to colleagues from all over the world. ‘I first took part when I was a postgraduate student, giving a paper on Finnish Mural Art at the turn of the 20th century. At some of the conferences, I was the only Finnish delegate’, she says.

Over the years she has been promoting these annual conferences to her Finnish colleagues and within the Finnish National Gallery. Now every year people from different departments at FNG are beating a path to it. The conferences, which take place in Britain, are usually attended by around 300 professionals worldwide, and offer several sessions on different themes, with four or five papers presented within each session. Von Bonsdorff’s enthusiasm for the benefits of taking part is palpable. ‘It’s an amazing chance to get a 20-minute glimpse of someone’s life’s work. Often the surprises come when you attend a session that is outside of your own field.’

At this year’s AAH conference in Norwich, Von Bonsdorff brought her own area of interest in the use of colour in late 19th-century Nordic and European art to the session on ‘Shades of Grey: Painting Without Colour’. Given the title of the session, why did she choose to title her paper ‘Picturing the Immaterial With Colour: Symbolist Ideal’? Was she making a point about how grey has been regarded as a non-colour?

Read More — Download ‘Grey Matters’, an interview of Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, by Gill Crabbe, as a PDF

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Picturing the Immaterial with Colour – Symbolist Ideal?

Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, PhD, Chief Curator, Ateneum Art Museum

 

When I first read about this session, ‘Shades of Grey: Painting without Colour’ I was thrilled since there are very few sessions that are actually devoted to colour and its research.

I’m delighted to have this opportunity to introduce a concept, which formed a big part of my doctoral thesis, namely Colour Asceticism. With this colour concept I have studied colour and meaning in Finnish and international art from the 1860s to 1906.

In this paper I discuss how the turn towards colour – that is when ‘material’ became a part of the content – is one of the main signifiers of Modernism in European art. First, my focus is on the new adaptation of the more achromatic palette which was broadly used during late 19th century, not just in the Nordic countries, but also elsewhere in Europe. The use of a colour ascetic palette was especially popular within the Symbolist circles. At the time, this kind of ‘reduced palette’ carried certain connotations, such as spirituality, musicality, harmony, melancholy, stillness, intimacy, silence and immateriality, and these concepts were among the topics widely discussed in the art circles of the turn of the 20th century. Moreover, ‘abstract’ elements, such as musicality and spirituality, which were so highly valued in this period, were not introduced through form, composition or subject, first, but through the idea of colour harmonies.

Featured image: Magnus Enckell, Boy With Skull, 1893. Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis

Read More — Download ‘Picturing the Immaterial with Colour – Symbolist Ideal?’ by Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff as a PDF

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