"Imagine the life of Frida Kahlo yoked to the eye of Edvard Munch, and you´ll begin to get the measure of this oeuvre" In Finland she is an national heroine, and across all of Scandinavia she has gained near Mythical status,... [more]
"Imagine the life of Frida Kahlo yoked to the eye of Edvard Munch, and you´ll begin to get the measure of this oeuvre"
In Finland she is an national heroine, and across all of Scandinavia she has gained near Mythical status, yet in the rest of Europe she is virtually unknow, but now exhibitions outside Scandinavia showing in Hamburg, Den Haag and Paris.
The portraits, self-portraits, landscapes and still lifes testify to Schjerfbeck´s highly individual style and affirm her position as an outstanding modernist artist. Having gained success and recognition for her art at a young age. Schjerfbeck´s development as a painter was shaped by periods of study in Paris and subsepuent travels to Florence, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Brittany and England. At the 1889 World´s Fair in Paris, the then 27-year-old artist was awarded the bronze medal for her painting The Convalescent, which reflects impressionist influences.
Combining the impressionist impulse with her training in the realistic style,Schjerfbeck made an conscious decision at the turn of the century to distance herself from the National Romanticism of her Nordic colleagues and established her own artistic identity, one that was mor international in character. She confidently adopted a modern approach to the free application of paint and an reduced language of forms, and some of her paintings are already anticipate of abstraction. By 1902, when she was forced to give up her cosmopolitian lifestyle due to ill-health, she was aready regarded as one of the most important representatives of a generation of Finnish woman artist.
In the following almost 50 years of self-imposed isolation in two Finish villages, Schjerfbeck created an individual expressive style that is deeply impressive in its austeroty, stillness and intensity, and at the same time is imbued with strength and sensitivty. Far removed from historicism and National Romanticism, the artist potrays the simple life of woman and children. Schjerfbeck reduces the narrative elements to a highly expressive formal language.