21 September 2023

Helene Schjerfbeck: Through My Travels, I Found Myself

Paring its elements down to near abstraction, this moody landscape shows its  Nordic origins. Helene Schjerfbeck has been called "Finland's Munch" for her status as an early modernist. I fancy this as an autumnal scene, the colors muted by the retreat of the sun.

Best known for searching self-portraits, Schjerfbeck inhabited her landscapes with her pensive personality. A woman of  contradictions, she was reclusive and at the same time a knowing follower of fashion. 

Helene's father gave her a pencil and Helene began to draw at  the age of four while she was recovering from a broken hip...at eleven she won a drawing scholarship to the Finnish Art Society, the youngest student to ever attend the school.

A grant from the Finnish government enabled her to visit Paris, launching her on  extended  travels around Europe, from Pont-Aven, Concarmeau in Brittany to Florence, limited only by her lameness and associated health problems. 

In 1902 she moved to the village of Hyvvinka, twenty-five miles north of Helsinki.  She died in a sanatorium in Helsinki in 1946.

Image:  Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) - Landscape at Hyvvinka, 1914, oil paint and charcoal on canvas board, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.


Tania said...

It seems so simple, it’s not.

Jane A Librizzi said...

Tania, you are so right.