Jalmari Ruokokoski: Kukkia, 1909, öljy kankaalle, Signe ja Ane Gyllenbergin säätiö. Kuva: Matias Uusikylä

Power of the Brush – From the Golden Age to Contemporary Art

Rarities from Finnish art foundations at the Tampere Art Museum autumn exhibition

The Tampere Art Museum autumn exhibition Power of the Brush presents Finnish expressionism and free pictorial art from the Golden Age to contemporary art. Expressionists who were influential in Europe from the beginning of the 20th century expressed subjective emotions and inner experiences in their art. The artists in the exhibition share the characteristics of an expressive style of painting and use of the brush free of rules. The exhibition includes works by artists such as Helene Schjerfbeck, Ellen Thesleff, Fanny Churberg, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Tyko Sallinen, Jalmari Ruokokoski, Esko Tirronen, Kimmo Kaivanto, Teemu Saukkonen, Leena Luostarinen and Henry Wuorila-Stenberg.

Works that have never been displayed in public or have only been displayed rarely have been borrowed from the collections of the Association of Finnish Fine Arts Foundations. The Association consists of the Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Fortum Art Foundation, Föreningen Konstsamfundet, Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation, Lönnström Art Museum, Nordea Art Foundation, OP Art Foundation, Pro Artibus Foundation, Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation, UPM Kymmene Cultural Foundation and Åbo Akademi University Foundation. The exhibition is complemented by works from the collections of the Tampere Art Museum and the City of Tampere.

Early 20th century expressionists originally wanted to express their inner experiences in their art. In their paintings, wild forms and strong colours were combined with strong brush strokes. The artists selected for this exhibition have transformed expression in Finnish art and introduced new contents and approaches to it. In her expressiveness, Fanny Churberg, for example, was ahead of her time as a strong interpreter of landscapes in the 1870s. At the beginning of the 20th century, Ellen Thesleff’s dynamic art consisted of mental expressionism and colour art. Helene Schjerfbeck’s early expressive portraits and still lifes exhibit a strong life force, boldness and a modernist style. The November Group of artists founded in 1917 gave rise to pioneers of expressive art, such as Tyko Sallinen, Jalmari Ruokokoski and Ilmari Aalto. Their influence is still visible in artistic life in Finland. In the 1960s, free pictoriality was represented by informalist painting, and the 1980s saw a new emergence of expressive painting. The exhibition ends with an introduction to contemporary painters in whose output free pictoriality is alive in its various forms. These artists include Viljami Heinonen, Emmi Kallio, Sampsa Törmälehto, Henrika Lax and Andre Peterdi.

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