The Cloberth‘ Today’s Memory
Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s birthday
Originally shared by The Cloberth
Born in Pori on this date in 1865, Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela.
The child of Swedish-speaking parents, Gallen-Kallela was drawn to art as a youth. in 1879, following his father’s death and three years in a Helsinki grammar school meant to discourage his ambition, he began formal training at the Finnish Art Society, taking private lessons as well.
Moving to Paris in 1884 to study at the Académie Julian, he mixed with other Scandinavian painters, as well as the noted Swedish author and playwright August Strindberg.
The subjects of his works during the late 1880s and throughout the 1890s are varied, from academic nudes and portraiture, to scenes of rural life, and, most significantly, depictions of the Finnish national epic The Kalevala.
He gained considerable notoriety in 1900 with the frescoes he created for the Finnish Pavilion at the Paris World Fair, marking, with his subtle critique of the Romanov dynasty, a developing interest in political matters.
During the last three decades of his life, Gallen-Kallela was widely traveled, spending a couple of years in Nairobi and then three in the United States. In both instances he studied the art of the indigenous peoples. He also expanded the scope of his artistic creativity with designs for furniture, tapestries and rugs.
Although critics have often dismissed Gallen-Kallela’s work in comparison with other Finnish artists, there has been a resurgence of interest in recent years, and an exhibition at the Paris Musée d’Orsay in 2012. He died in Stockholm in 1931, leaving his series of illustrations for his „Great Kalevala” unfinished.