FINLAND - HELSINKI - Eero Järnefelt


Eero Järnefelt: Portrait of the Artist's Son, 1897. Ateneum Art Museum, coll. Antell. Photo: Finnish National Gallery, Central Art Archives / Kari Soinio

Eero Järnefelt was one of the most important figures in the golden age of Finnish art. He is best known for capturing the majestic landscapes of Koli and as a master of portraiture. Other themes that were close to his heart included Suviranta, his lakeside atelier home by Tuusulanjärvi, and the surrounding nature, as well as members of his family.

The exhibition is divided into two sections: a selection of Järnefelt’s most famous paintings will be displayed in two rooms on the third floor of the museum, while his drawings, sketchbooks and prints will be displayed in two rooms on the ground floor. Altogether the exhibition comprises 150 works from Ateneum’s own collections and on loan from the art museums of Järvenpää, Helsinki, Turku and Hämeenlinna, Ainola, the Art Foundation Merita and private collections.

The themes chosen for the exhibition by Ateneum’s Chief Curator Heikki Malme are Koli and wilderness landscapes, depictions of folk life, portraits, and the artist’s lakeside atelier home Suviranta by Tuusulanjärvi. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of the artist. The exhibition has been produced in co-operation with the Eero Järnefelt Society. A book published in connection with the exhibition focuses on Järnefelt as a printmaker; the book includes an illustrated catalogue of Järnefelt’s entire production of prints.

Eero Järnefelt (1863-1937)
Landscape paintings were central to Eero Järnefelt’s artistic production from the start. His lyrical relationship to nature could be seen particularly in his smaller works that depict the details of nature. Järnefelt continued to paint the breathtaking views over Lake Pielisjärvi from atop the Koli hill almost until his death. Autumn dominates these landscapes, although all the seasons appear in Järnefelt’s art in one way or another. Like other plein air artists, he was fascinated by different weather phenomena and lighting effects.

Järnefelt began painting clouds already as a student at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, and the theme of clouds depicted at different times and in different weather conditions fascinated him throughout his life. This exhibition presents 20 of his cloud paintings displayed together to create a single thematic whole from sunrise to sunset.

Eero Järnefelt was also an extremely gifted portrait artist, to the extent that he came to be regarded as the nation’s official portrait painter. He was an objective and sharp-eyed observer, but he also had a deep understanding for his models. The exhibition at Ateneum includes his official portraits of the historian J.R. Danielson-Kalmari and baron Johan Philip Palmén. Alongside these official portraits the exhibition includes many warm and affectionate portraits of his wife Saimi, their five children, and other members of his family.
A more personal and intimate side to his art is revealed in the paintings, drawings and prints that he made at his lakeside atelier home Suviranta by Tuusulanjärvi. His artistic production also includes many works with an element of satire and humour, which is quite rare in Finnish art.

The exhibition has been produced in co-operation with the Eero Järnefelt Society.

Finnish National Gallery - Ateneum     25.01.2013 - 28.04.2013

Website : Finnish National Gallery - Ateneum

Website : City of Helsinki

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