Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946)
Portrait de l'artiste, Fusain, 1939
Published by Gösta Stenman / Nordisk Rotogravyr, Stockholm (1945)
13.5 x 9.5 ins / 34 x 24 cms
To view other works by Helene Schjerfbeck please click Here
Helene Schjerfbeck was born in Helsinki on 10th July 1862. She is one of Finland's most celebrated artists.
In 1873, at the age of 11, Schjerfbeck attended the Finnish Art Association's drawing school. In 1880, she received a scholarship to study in France and attended the Academie Colarossi, Paris, where she studied under Gustave Courtois (1852-1924). The scholarship enabled Schjerfbeck to travel extensively - spending time in London as well as visiting Paris, Vienna, Florence and St.Petersburg. Her landscapes and portraits painted in the 1880s and 1890s, bear the clear influence of French Impressionism.
In 1887, Schjerfbeck travelled to St.Ives, Cornwall. It was here that she painted one of her most well-known works, 'La Convalescente' for which she won the bronze medal at the Paris World Fair in 1889.
Schjerfbeck returned to Finland and worked for a few years as a teacher at the Finnish Art Association's drawing school in Helsinki. In 1902, she moved to Hyvinkää, a town 30 miles north of Helsinki, to live with and care for her mother. She continued to paint and took part in group exhibitions both in Finland and abroad. It was in Hyvinkää that her painting style became more Expressionistic with a bolder Modernist tone.
In 1913, Schjerfbeck met the art dealer Gösta Stenman (1888-1947). Stenman purchased several works directly from Schjerfbeck and curated a critically successful solo exhibition of her work at the Ateneum art museum (the National Gallery of Finland). Stenman represented Schjerfbeck for the rest of her life.
To escape the end of the second Soviet-Finnish War in Finland, Schjerfbeck flew to Stockholm in February 1944. Schjerfbeck lived at the Saltsjöbaden Spa Hotel where she continued to paint actively - producing a series of self portraits.
Helene Schjerfbeck died in Saltsjöbaden on 23rd January 1946, aged 83.
In their obituary, the Swedish national newspaper (Svenska Dagbladet) wrote 'It is now clear that she was not only one of the finest artists in her own country but the greatest female painters of all time.... one of the exceedingly few Nordic artists whose works will be recognised as world art'.
The Ateneum art museum in Helsinki have the largest collection of Schjerfbeck's works. Other locations include Kunstmuseum Didrichsen, Helsinki, Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Götenborgs Konstmuseum. The Royal Academy of Arts, London held a critically acclaimed exhibition of her work in 2019.