Ellen Thesleff
23 Jan – 17 May 2015
Ellen Thesleff (1869–1954) and Helene Schjerfbeck were pivotal names of the Golden Age of Finnish art around 1900 and among the leading modernists from the start of the 20th century. As an artist, Thesleff was extremely confident and was able to remain innovative for her entire career lasting over sixty years. The artist and her works received recognition even during her lifetime.

The exhibition consisting of more than one hundred works focuses on Thesleff’s paintings and colour woodcuts. It presents the artist’s phenomenal creating skills, starting with her breakthrough masterpiece Echo (1891), still with realist undertones, and ending with astoundingly modern paintings from her late years. Thesleff’s numerous journeys to Italy had a profound impact on her, which was reflected in a bold use of colour and ever broader stylistic choices both in her paintings and graphic art.

The focal point in Thesleff’s art was nature, especially cultural landscapes typical to both Finland and Italy, but she also created nature-themed, allegorical works. The artist also painted still-lifes, portraits, self-portraits and figure motifs. Thesleff and her two sisters were very musical, which is reflected in the topics of Ellen’s works, which are often linked to music and dance.

Besides a painter, Thesleff was a noteworthy print maker. Particularly, she became a master and innovator of early Finnish colour woodcut. Her woodcuts and paintings are on par with each other, which can be seen in their motifs, colours and execution.

Thesleff frequently participated in the annual exhibitions organized by the Turku Art Society. Many of the works now considered classics were shown in Turku soon after their completion. Despite this, the exhibition currently on display is the first extensive overview of her œuvre held at the Turku Art Museum.
Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2019