Emil Wikström
The Allure of the Stone
24 Jan – 27 Apr 2014
Emil Wikström (1864–1942) is known first and foremost as a sculptor of public monuments in bronze or stone as well as a creator of nationalist imagery. A native of Turku, Wikström became the most popular sculptor of the Golden Age of Finnish art in the late 19th century. Organised to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth, the exhibition in Turku Art Museum focuses primarily on Wikström’s non-commissioned sculptures which he did in bronze and marble.

Wikström’s career took off when he won a competition in 1893 to decorate the gable end of the House of the Estates in Helsinki. Wikström’s realistic, professional and ideological style was particularly favoured by Finnish nationalists. Coming from a humble background, Wikström was a combination of plain man of the people and gentleman artist with Parisian pretensions. He built his studio home, Visavuori, in the countryside in the province of Häme. After getting married, Wikström often sculpted portraits of his wife, Alice Wikström, and their three daughters. With a taste for national romanticism and realism, he created many romanticised sculptures of women and children that reveal his sensitive side.

Born in 1864 in Turku, Wikström began studying art at the Turku Drawing School and later continued his studies in Helsinki, Vienna and Paris. One of Wikström’s first public commissions was made for Turku in 1891, sculptures for the façade of the Turku Savings Bank. The same year he was appointed one of the co-founders of the Turku Art Society together with such names as Victor Westerholm and Elin Danielson. Even after moving away from Turku, Wikström contributed to the town’s art life by serving on the board of the Turku Art Society and as a member of the Turku Art Museum Purchase Committee. We can view the jubilee year as a kind of return to a familiar place for Wikström.

In addition to sculptures, The Allure of the Stone also features a number of paintings associated with Wikström. Created by Dora Wahlroos, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Pekka Halonen and Albert Edelfelt, they tell about the broad network of artists, strengthened by his time in Paris, in which Wikström moved. The exhibition is produced in collaboration with the Visavuori Museum Foundation, and it is part of Emil Wikström’s 150th jubilee year programme. The works on show are from the collections of the Turku Art Museum and on loan from public and private collections.

The exhibition also includes an events programme (in Finnish) that provides a background to Wikström’s art. For more detailed information about the programme, please visit www.turuntaidemuseo.fi/uutiset/.
Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2019