Up betimes, and so to the Finnish National Gallery (I’ve been listening to Pepy’s diaries).
I’ve always loved a salon style exhibition – it’s the way I hang pictures on my own walls – and this arrangement was continued throughout the Ateneum Gallery which exhibits mainly Finnish art …
…. though there are a few exceptions. The Ateneum is one of three galleries which come under the umbrella of the National Gallery, the others being the Museum of Contemporary Art – Kiasma, and The Sinbrychoff Art Museum which houses older European Masters. As I was interested this time in seeing mostly the late 19th and early 20th century Finnish art, I spent the few hours I had at the Ateneum.
‘Lake Shore with Reeds’, by Eero Järnefelt, set the scene, it reminding me of the shoreline where we load the cable-laying ships at Pikkala.
Torsten Wasastjerna’s ‘French Women Ironing’, took my eye ….
… as did ‘The Convalescent’, by Helene Schjerfbeck. Though praised in the Paris Salon in the late 1880’s, it’s reception in Finland was mixed as the painting was considered excessively realistic. Interestingly, the picture was painted in St. Ives, Cornwall.
Equally realistic was Louis Sparre’s, ‘First Snow’. Once again, the lighting wasn’t great – often the overhead spots would either reflect in the varnish or cause the top rail of the frame to cast a shadow on the work as on ‘The Rope Dancer’ by Ole Kandelin.
The children’s books written by Arseniy Lapin, a Russian artist and Master puppeteer, have quite unique, almost other worldly, illustrations.
His painting, ‘Singing Fishes’, and this figure in the gallery,
… had a similar feel. Lapin’s work, for anyone interested in children’s books, is well worth investigating. I managed to get round the Ateneum twice in the few hours I had to spare. If there’s an opportunity, Kiasma will be next.
I collected my fellow Magneteer from Helsinki airport and, as we drove to Pikkala, a call came through to tell us that the job had been postponed. That gave us the next day to explore before flying home a day later. We came across an old military airfield at Nummela, now used mainly for gliding. The club’s tug aircraft was this very rare PIK-15. It would have been nice to have had a go in it; it looked, and is reputed to be, something of a performer.
Like this chap – a self-launching glider with a small motor and folding propeller in the nose. And that was the end of our brief stay in Finland.
We had a silly o’clock departure from Helsinki; a stop in Stockholm before catching an SAS flight back to Heathrow and then, a surprisingly clear run around the M25 on the way to our respective homes. 48 hours later, we were back in Sweden for 4 days with a short load-out before preparing to move on to start the postponed job in Finland.
And to finish, a last piece from the splendid National Gallery, Mauri Favén’s ‘Dawn’.