This exhibition of the work of Albert Edelfelt, known as the ‘golden boy’ of Finnish art, takes his international career as its starting point. Edelfelt was a true cosmopolitan and cultural influencer who raised awareness of Finnish art outside the country not only through his own art, illustrations and articles, but also through his extensive networks. At the same time, he introduced Finland to the latest artistic phenomena and influences from abroad. As curators, we aimed to highlight Edelfelt’s unique, diverse international career, circle of friends and networks.The first monographic exhibition in Paris devoted to Edelfelt’s career opened at the Petit Palais in the spring of 2022, moving to the Gothenburg Museum of Art in the autumn. These shows brought the artist back to the countries where his international career began. Now Edelfelt returns home from his European tour to the Ateneum, home of most of his artistic oeuvre.Through the works in the exhibition, you can travel in Edelfelt’s footsteps across Europe: Italy, Spain, southern France, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Russia, Denmark and Sweden were his frequent travel destinations for over 30 years. He was attracted to foreign travel by museums and attractions in various cities, the warmth of southern Europe – and by portrait commissions. The places he went and the people he met live on in Edelfelt’s works. His hometowns of Helsinki and Paris, as well as his summer paradise at Haikko, offered him a variety of work opportunities in different seasons.The Ateneum exhibition features approximately 230 of Edelfelt’s works, from his first paintings to garden views from his last summer. There are also works never before seen in Finland, which were discovered in France and Sweden during preparations for the touring exhibition. Meanwhile, a few new works have been acquired for the Finnish National Gallery collection, such as Larin Paraske’s Lamentations (1893) and Young Woman in Grey(ca. 1878). In addition to Edelfelt’s paintings, the exhibition includes works by his Parisian colleagues Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret, Jules Bastien-Lepage and Ville Vallgren.In the 21st century, a new generation of art historians in Finland have brought new perspectives and a critical attitude to the study of Edelfelt’s art and life. New research indicates that he had a talent for socialising and networking, while revealing more of his human side and making him more fascinating as a person. The extensive exhibition catalogue offers a wide range of fresh research from Finland, France and Sweden, looking at Edelfelt from cultural-historical and artistic perspectives.
Kustantaja: Kansallisgalleria, Ateneumin taidemuseo, 2023.
Koko 16,5 x 16,5 cm, 38 sivua.