|Verner Thomé: Bathing Boys. 1910. Oil on canvas, 108,5 x 130. Hoving Collection / Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Aaltonen. Please click to enlarge the images.|
Exhibition committee: Jarno Peltonen, Otto Selén.
Didrichsen Art Museum, Kuusilahdenkuja 1, 00340 Helsinki.
Väri vapautuu / Färgernas frihet / Colour Liberated. 144 p. Helsinki: Didrichsen, 2015.
Introductions by Peter Didrichsen and Risto Ruohonen. Main essay "Painting Shattered by Colour, Light and Brush" by Marja-Terttu Kivirinta.
Includes complete colour illustrations of the artworks, ordered by the artist, each with a page of introduction.
Trilingual: Finnish / Swedish / English.
Official introduction: "The Didrichsen Art Museum's 50th anniversary exhibition presents paintings based on pure colours, a new expression of which emerged in Finland in 1908-1914. The comprehensive exhibition shows works by 16 artists, on loan from leading Finnish art museums as well as from the Didrichsen Art Museum's own collections".
"The more than 50 works in the exhibition show examples of motifs from Hogland by Verner Thomé, A. W. Finch, and Magnus Enckell, strong expressionist works by Mäkelä who was influenced by Edward Munch, as well as colourist paintings by Tyko Sallinen."
AA: In autumn 2015 several prominent exhibitions were opened celebrating the revelation of pure colour in Finnish art in the period of early Modernism: the Sigurd Frosterus collection at Amos Anderson Art Museum, the Bäcksbacka collection at Helsinki Art Museum, the Alvar & Ragni Cawén exhibition at Tampere Art Museum - and the Colour Liberated exhibition at Didrichsen. All share many of the same artists from the same period. There is room for everybody, and these four exhibitions complement each other in an exciting way. The Frosterus exhibition is based on the selections of an individual collector and colour theorist. The Bäcksbacka collection is based on artists favoured by a great gallerist and patron. The Cawén exhibition covers two entire careers, in which colour is but one yet essential dimension.
Didrichen's Colour Liberated is a succinct yet richly gratifying and versatile survey into a definite period. It is based on a wide knowledge of the entire scene, displaying well-known masterpieces with less-known but equally fascinating discoveries. The joy of colour can also be seen as an early Modernist reflection of the last decade of la Belle Époque until the beginning of the First World War.
In the process of the liberation of colour the first Finnish artists' groups (Septem and November) were established. Verner Thomé, painter of the Bathing Boys on top, was one of the most talented members of the groups. They also mounted the first group exhibition in Finnish art at Ateneum in 1912.
|Magnus Enckell: The Awakening Faun. 1914. Oil. 65,5 x 81. The Hoving Collection, Ateneum Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Janne Tuominen.|
|Magnus Enckell: A Park View from San Remo. 1913. Oil. Turku Art Museum.|
|A. W. Finch: Cliffs at Porto Venere. 1908. Oil. 33 x 44. Collection Nils Dahlström / Turku Art Museum. Photo: Turku Art Museum Archive.|
|Jalmari Ruokokoski: A Girl. 1911. Oil. 64,5 x 54,5. Bequest Ludvig & Aija Wennervirta / Hämeenlinna Art Museum.|
|Tyko Sallinen: In the Sauna. 1914. Oil. 64 x 86. Collection Nils Dahlström / Turku Art Museum.|
|Ellen Thesleff: A Landscape from Murole. 1912. Oil. 44 x 47 cm. Didrichsen Art Museum. Photo: Jussi Pakkala.|
The hanging and the lighting are beautiful. Some of the paintings are covered by reflecting glass. Downstairs there is the opportunity to put things into perspective with two refined exhibitions from Didrichsen's own collections: a Pre-Columbian exhibition and an Oriental exhibition. Plus a non-stop video about Viljo Revell, the architect of the Modernist building. In the sculpture park and inside there are samples for instance of Didrichsen's Henry Moore collection. The catalogue is a gratifying companion and a valuable keepsake with complete illustrations of the entire exhibition. The colours in the catalogue are more faithful to the originals, but on the internet the reproductions fail to convey the brightness, warmth, and glow of the paintings.