Helene Schjerfbeck


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(b Helsinki, 10 July 1862; d Saltsjöbaden, nr. Stockholm, 23 Jan. 1946).

Finnish painter. In the 1880s she travelled widely, working mainly in France but also in St Ives and St Petersburg, making a name with open-air scenes notable for their fresh colouring. From about 1900 her health (always delicate) began to fail badly (although she lived into her eighties) and she adopted a solitary life at Hyvinkaa, almost forgotten, developing a much more simplified style. Her subtle colour harmonies recall those of Whistler, and after her work was exhibited in 1937 she was recognized as one of the pioneers of modernism in Finland. Her work included landscapes, still lifes, figure compositions, and portraits, notably a long series of self-portraits that are regarded as being among her finest achievements.

Subjects: Art.

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