Anu Utriainen, MA, Senior Researcher, Ateneum Art Museum / Finnish National Gallery
A research and exhibition project co-ordinated by the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, and the Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki.
This research project aims to chart and compare the women sculptors in the Nordic countries who were active at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. The criterion for the selection is that the women were professionals, meaning that they had been trained as sculptors, exhibited sculpture at public exhibitions or that their work had been acquired by museums.
The project is led by Curator of Sculpture, Linda Hinners PhD of the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. Members of the editorial board are Curator Vibeke Waallann Hansen of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo and Senior Researcher Anu Utriainen of the Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki. The research group consists of scholars and researchers in the Nordic countries, Belgium and France. The results of the research project will be released in the form of a publication and an exhibition at the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm in 2022.
The increased presence of women in artistic life at the end of the 19th century marks an important shift and reflects the discussions about gender in this period. This was a pioneering time for women’s rights and particularly for gaining the opportunity to enter professional careers and paid employment. Art was an attractive choice for the daughters of the middle classes. In 1848, Finland became one of the first countries in Europe to give open access to basic art studies for women and men alike at the Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society. In Sweden, the Fine Arts Academy offered art studies for women from 1864 onwards. At the same time, there were still limits placed on women having careers as independent artists, and conventional opinions had a powerful influence on what were deemed to be suitable activities and occupations for women.
Read more — Download ‘Strong, Self-Sufficient and Sharp – Nordic Women Sculptors 1870–1940’, by Anu Utriainen, as a PDF