Ellen Thesleff: Thyra Elisabeth, 1892 / Photo: Hanna Kukorelli

Ellen Thesleff (1869–1954) was amongst the most talented artists of the Finnish Golden Age. She was one of the first Finnish Symbolists and Expressionists – a master of colour, light and movement, earning recognition already during her lifetime. She was a cosmopolitan, as much at home in Finland, Paris or Florence. For her, the network of the international art world was a refuge, as was her summer studio Casa Bianca in Ruovesi’s Murole village, Finland.

Thesleff renewed colourism, networked actively in the European art world, and renewed the expression of Finnish wood engraving. In the final years of her career she was inspired by an abstract expression.

Thesleff was an exceptionally strong and independent woman striving to become a painter from an early age. She began her art studies at the age of fifteen in Finland and continued them later in Paris. Ever confident, she compared herself to Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Just as it was to her contemporaries, her style of painting is still striking, self-confident and free.

The exhibition is curated by art historian Hanna-Reetta Schreck.

Ellen Thesleff, 1900-luvun alku / Photo: Svenska Litteratursällskapet i Finland