Urban Encounters
Oct 19, 2018 – Jan 20, 2019

Henry Ericsson: The Fazer Bar, 1931. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

How did urbanisation influence the Finnish way of life – and how did this show in visual art? How did everyday life change when people had more free time and gender roles were liberated? Urban Encounters tells a fascinating story about 20th-century Finland. The exhibition of approximately 300 works features many rarely shown pieces from the Finnish National Gallery collection.

Urban Encounters arose from the exhibition The Modern Woman, which presented works by Helene Schjerfbeck, Elga Sesemann, Sigrid Schauman and Ellen Thesleff. Produced by the Ateneum, the exhibition was shown in New York, Stockholm and Oulu. Urban Encounters broadens our perspective on changes to the Finnish way of life in cities, and how these changes are shown in Finnish visual art. The topics of the works range from urbanity to domesticity, from war to the circus, and from body to identity. The works include a great many recognizable cityscapes from Helsinki.

 

Ulla Rantanen: Street Scene, 1969. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, Skop Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Ella Tommila

LEFT: Helene Schjerfbeck: Girl from the Islands (detail) 1929. Finnish National Gallery/Ateneum Art Museum, The Kaunisto Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery/Hannu Aaltonen; RIGHT: Antti Favén: Harjoitelma naisen muotokuvaa varten (tohtorinna Edith von Bonsdorff), 1922. Kansallisgalleria / Ateneumin taidemuseo, kok. Ahlström. Kuva: Kansallisgalleria / Kirsi Halkola

Urban Encounters is a celebration of the Ateneum collection: the exhibition features some 300 works by more than 80 artists from the Finnish National Gallery’s collection. In addition, the exhibition will present seven works by Elga Sesemann from Tuomo Seppo’s private collection. Helene Schjerfbeck’s work will be represented by 14 paintings. The exhibition will also include new works donated to the Ateneum, including urban-themed prints and drawings by Simo Hannula.

 

Helene Schjerfbeck: Girl from Eydtkuhne II, 1927. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, coll. Kaunisto. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

LEFT: Helena Pylkkänen: Self-Portrait, 1976. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Petri Virtanen; RIGHT: Elga Sesemann: The Flower Seller, 1946. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen

Artists featured in the exhibition include Marcus Collin, Antti Favén, Aarre Heinonen, Tove Jansson, Olli Lyytikäinen, Åke Mattas, Ulla Rantanen, Sigrid Schauman and Esko Tirronen. About half of the works are prints by artists such as Marjatta Hanhijoki, Reino Harsti, Juho Karjalainen, Viktor Kuusela, Helmi Kuusi, Aune Mikkonen and Tuulikki Pietilä. Sculptures in the exhibition will be by Wäinö Aaltonen, Marjo Lahtinen, Essi Renvall and Helena Pylkkänen. The exhibition galleries will show surprising encounters and edgy juxtapositions, with works on view from different eras, ranging from the 1910s to the 1980s.

 

LEFT: Tove Jansson: Woman (Self-Portrait), 1942 (detail). Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Yehia Eweis. © Tove Jansson Estate; RIGHT: Jalmari Ruokokoski: A Woman, 1913. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

LEFT: Verner Thomé: Portrait, Fahle Basilier (undated). Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen; RIGHT: Väinö Kunnas: Townscape, 1926. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, Antell Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen

LEFT: Einari Wehmas: Street View (Autumn View from Töölö, Helsinki), 1946. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Pakarinen; RIGHT: Axel Haartman: The Indian Curtain (detail) 1911. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen

The exhibition has been curated by the keeper of prints and drawings Anu Utriainen, the chief curator Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff, and director general, adjunct professor Susanna Pettersson (Nationalmuseum, Sweden). The exhibition architecture is designed by Iines Karkulahti and Meri Wiikinkoski.

The exhibition coincides with the launch of a comprehensive publication, written by the special researcher Erkki Anttonen; the director of collections management at the Finnish National Gallery, Riitta Ojanperä; the writer Agneta Rahikainen; the Keeper of Prints and Drawings Anu Utriainen; the chief curator Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff; and the adjunct professor Susanna Pettersson. The publication is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

 

Urban Encounters / Finnish Art From The 20Th Century
October 19, 2018 – January 20, 2019 / Ateneum
Please visit the exhibition page >

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