Latest news and exhibitions
The Royal Academy of Arts this summer presents a survey of the long and productive career of Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck (1862 – 1946). This will be the first solo exhibition of Schjerfbeck’s works to be held in the UK. Celebrated as one of the most famous and highly regarded artists in Finland, it will be a rare opportunity to see Schjerfbeck’s paintings together.
The exhibition will feature around 65 portraits, landscapes and still-lifes, charting the development of Schjerfbeck’s work from a naturalistic style inspired by French Salon painters in the early 1880s, to a radically abstracted and modern approach from the turn of the twentieth century onwards. Throughout her career, Schjerfbeck exhibited internationally and was particularly successful in the Nordic countries and across mainland Europe; however, she has remained largely undiscovered in the UK.
The exhibition will be divided into five sections. The first covers her earliest works, the second her larger paintings, while in the central gallery, self-portraits will feature a series of 17 progressively abstracted and increasingly raw works painted throughout her life, from the age of 22 to 83, that reveal Schjerfbeck’s fascination with ageing and the physical deterioration of the self. The final sections will focus on portraits of family, friends and models made between 1909 and 1944.
Left: Helene Schjerfbeck, Selfportrait, Black Background, 1915. Oil on canvas