Art Features

Museum of Gallen-Kallela

{mosimage}The floor
in the main atelier is made of tarred wooden blocks, a durable style imitated
from factories. In the glass vitrines by the wall there is a collection of old
oil paint tubes and brushes. Gallen-Kallela wanted the windows in the ceiling of
his atelier to point to the north, in order to lay a perfect indirect light for
painting all day long. When climbing up the staircase to the tower, and passing
by the bathroom with windows, you can imagine how the family members would
observe the atelier while having a bath.

adventurous and cosmopolitan artist, Akseli Gallen-Kallela felt at home
everywhere. He lived and worked in Paris, North America and east Africa. He
loved his home country deeply, and explored the roots of Finnish mythology during
long trips in Karelia. He constantly searched
for something genuine and exciting; native Indians in North America, and
kikujus in the present day Kenya. Thus he is often defined as a ´national
cosmopolite´. For Finns, he is most known as the illustrator of the characters
in Kalevala, the Finnish National Epic.

artist was an important influencer during the ‘Golden Era of Finnish Art’
between 1880-1910, along with Albert Edelfelt and Helene Schjerfbeck, amongs
others. During these Golden years, the ruling art tendencies were realism,
symbolism and above all national romance, as a result of the Finnish national
spirit raising its head before the independence.

Not only
a painter, Gallen-Kallela was also known for his graphics and furniture design
skills. For the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900 he had designed most of the
furniture and textiles for the Finnish pavilion, for which he was awarded and recognised
internationally. The fair is considered to be the first occasion when such a concept
as Finnish design was launched.

many of Gallen-Kallela’s privately-owned paintings and the treasure-like
material he brought back from his trips are exhibited in the museum. Currently,
the museum hosts an exhibition of expressionist art entitled ‘Wound’ which is
on display until the 20th of May. Many of the pieces of art are created by
contemporary Finnish artists, such as Elina Merenmies or Mari Sunna. This
exhibition focuses on the personal and subjective experiences of the self, an
exposition concept envisioned by the painter Henry Wuorila-Stenberg.

After the
tour in the museum you can sip a coffee in the original Finnish wooden villa,
where the artist and his family used to live before building the stone castle
next to it.