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Art and Emotion - Finnish expressionism from the beginning of the early 1900s to the 1960s


The Art and Emotion exhibition presents the works of art of key Finnish expressionists from the beginning of the 1900s to the 1960s. The artworks, which contain ragged, full-bodied and saturated tones, have spoken to the Finnish audience for more than a hundred years.

Expressionism was an art style that emerged in Europe in the early 20th century, involving the expression of emotions in strong colors and brushstrokes. During the era Finnish artists aimed at a new kind of free, colorful and emotional expression, from which glimpses were seen in the exhibitions of the Norwegian Edvard Munch and the German group Der Blaue Reiter in Helsinki. The trips of Finnish artists to France and Germany also opened prospects for modern expression. Thus, expressionism quickly became an art style loved by Finns. It finally brought rich and saturated tones to the paintings.

The breakthrough of the style took place in Finland in the late 1910s. Inspired by expressionism, the artists founded the November group, which became the vanguard of Finnish emotional expression. Tyko Sallinen was chosen as its leading figure. The nationally significant sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen participated also in the group. In the 1930s, many artists such as Vilho Lampi and Yrjö Saarinen painted artworks with touching and powerful content. After the Second World War, the October group, led by Aimo Kanerva and Sven Grönvall, wanted to continue the expressionism started by Tyko Sallinen and the people of the November group. Mauno Markkula, Åke Mattas and Eemu Myntti painted in the 1950s, breaking the form, relying on strong brush strokes and color. The dark, down-to-earth, and sometimes strong world of color of expressionism seemed to resonate well with the Finnish folk character.

The works in the exhibition are from the collection of the Aine Art Foundation from the Aine Art Museum (Tornio), the art museums of Kemi, Oulu and Hämeenlinna, the Museum Centre of Turku, the private collection of Jani Pakkala (Vantaa) and the collection of the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation from the Rovaniemi Art Museum. The exhibition is curated by Professor Tuija Hautala-Hirvioja and is mainly accompanied by an exhibition publication written by art history students at the University of Lapland.

Mauno Markkula: Blue Mountains
c. 1949, oil on cardboard
Collection of the Aine Art Foundation, Aine Art Museum, Tornio

2.10.2022 - 9.4.2023 12:00 AM–12:00 AM

Kulttuuritalo Korundi
Lapinkävijäntie 4
96100 Rovaniemi