Painters I Should Have Known About (002) Albert Edelfelt part 2

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This is the continuation of an earlier piece about Albert Edelfelt. 1854 – 1905

Edelfelt, like his father, did not live a very long life. A relatively short 51 years.
His career as a successful artist lasted about 25 years, during which time he produced some 1400 paintings.
It is surprising how few of these works are left as his legacy today.

Nearly half Edelfelt’s output was in the form of portraits, and it is possible that many of these still hang in the houses of the original sitters.

Here’s a self portrait from his Paris years:
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Edelfelt spent around 15 years in Paris, enjoying the milieu and the good life. He would spend many of his summers in Finland.

His big breakthrough came in 1885 when he produced his portrait of Louis Pasteur.

Here’s the study for the portrait:

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Louis Pasteur Study.

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Louis Pasteur Portrait.

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Snow On Roofs. 1887

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Boats in Harbour.

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Raspberries in the Woods.

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In The Boudoir.

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Beach at Haikko.

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Annie Edelfelt. (Albert’s youngest sister)

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Ellan de la Chapelle. The wife of the artist.

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Berta Edelfelt. The daughter sister of the artist.1

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Berta Edelfelt. The daughter sister of the artist, a little older.

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The Terrasse at Beaulieu.

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Study for Burnt Village.

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Burnt Village.

Below is a (slightly higher resolution) re-post of The Child’s Funeral, the painting that so shocked Finnish society in 1880.
Compare it with the next picture down, that Edelfelt painted a year earlier, and which gave him the inspiration for The Child’s Funeral.

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A Child’s Funeral.

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A Child’s Funeral (Study).

Here’s a delightful little colour sketch of a model silhouetted against a window.

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Lady on a Balcony (Study).

Now, two versions of Edelfelt’s masterpiece, In The Luxembourg Gardens.
First, the study:

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And now the finished painting:

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In the Luxembourg Gardens

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Log Jam

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Lily Pond.

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Male Nude 1.

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Male Nude 2.

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Male Nude 3.

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Ladies Outside Church.

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Lady Dreaming Outside Church

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Again, another higher resolution version of “Sorrow”.

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Suru / Sorrow.

Now here’s the enigmatic Viginie, in slightly higher resolution.

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Just before his death (from a heart attack) Edelfelt was commissioned to paint a mural in the hall of the Turun / Turku Academy. The Finns finally got what they wanted from their peripatetic son. A fine historic painting glorifying Finland.

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1854 (21st July) Born in Porvoo, Southern Finland
1871 Enters University of Helsinki
1873 Enters the Antwerp (Belgium) Academie des Beaux-Arts
1874 Enters the ‘Ecole nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris (France)
1879 Paints the Child’s Funeral, a first step in establishing Finnish realism
1882 Exhibits the Church Service on Nyland at the Salon, for which he wins a 2nd Class medal
1883 Becomes Europe’s most in-demand portraitist, and gains enduring popularity in Russia
1883 In a group show at the Pett Gallery he represents the Nordic countries as well as Russia
1885 Completes the portrait of Louis Pasteur
1887 Exhibits The Luxembourg Gardens at the Salon. He is decorated with the Legion d’Honneur, later becoming an officer and then a commander
1888 Marriage to the Finnish noblewoman Ellan de la Chappelle
1890 Made life member of the Societe des Beaux-Arts
1905 Dies on 18th August at Borgaen


Footnotes for this post:____________________________________
  1. See comments below. []

11 thoughts on “Painters I Should Have Known About (002) Albert Edelfelt part 2”

  1. Perhaps you’ve been told that the “Lady Dreaming Outside Church” is the portrait of an extraordinary woman called Larin Paraske. The picture was probably painted in her home village in what is now Russian Karelia. Rather than dreaming, it’s more likely that she’s in a creative trance. A renowned poem-singer, Paraske memorised thousands of songs, including passages from the great Finnish myth-sequence, Kalevala. Her work was transcribed & notated by a pastor, who went with her to Helsinki, where she performed to great acclaim. Her singing was a major influence on the music of Sibelius, and a beacon to the movement for Finnish independence. Without Paraske, a huge body of oral culture would have been lost to the world. The language she spoke, Ingrian-Finnish, is now seriously endangered. Look her up on the web. She’s an inspiration to us all. In case you’re wondering about my interest in her, I’m a poet myself. Best wishes, Jane

  2. @Jane, I’d like to thank you very much for adding meaning and context for this picture. I always wondered about that faraway, glassy stare. If you click on the little picture, you’ll find the magnified version that springs up has her name in the border. Because I don’t speak Finnish, I didn’t realise that the words “Larin Paraske” were the woman’s name. Thanks for the enlightenment!

  3. Excuse me, but Albert Edelfelt didn´t have a daughter! That girl was her sister.

  4. Let me continue. In fact, there was a rumor going around that Edelfelt had two more children made with his lover and model “Virginie” in the 1880`s. But we don´t have any further information about this matter. So, in officially Edelfelt had only one son, Erik Edelfelt, who died in 1907 in the age of 17.

  5. @Jane Ellis…You are absolutely correct.

    Edelfelt had three sisters. Ellen, who died of tuberculosis in 1876, Berta, the subject of the two portraits above, and Annie.

    Thanks for the additional information.
    I have been justified in calling this series: “Parading my ignorance”!

  6. flickr.comHi!
    Always nice to find Finnish painters in the Internet!
    Actually, it wasn’t unusual for Finnish painters or sculptors to study and live in Paris at that time – they were quite many. Here are some other more or less notable artists who lived there at the same time with Edelfelt: Akseli Gallen-Kallela (originally Axel Gallen), Helene Schjerfbeck, Eero Järnefelt, Väinö Blomstedt, Walter Runeberg, Pekka Halonen (who was teached by Paul Gauguin), Gunnar Berndtson (Edelfel’s friend and related to his wife), Ellen Thesleff.
    And did you know that Vincent van Gogh mentions Edelfelt to his brother Theo in one of his letters? He had seen Edelfelt’s painting at the Salon and was impressed.
    Gunnar Berndtson and Edelfelt had there atelier in same adress and they even painted the same model (even in the same dress): and
    Edelfelt had his atelier left in Paris until 1905 but didn’t stay there much during the last years.
    More Edelfelt here (Russian pages):

  7. @Leena Viitala: Thanks very much for the link. There is a lot of very useful information in that PDF. It’s a shame the pictures are in such low resolution. I hope visitors here will read this far down the page and follow your link.

  8. Can you help me.I inherited an oilpainting, which is signed Erik Edelfelt 1904. It is an portrait of a young woman in typical finnish costume. Is it right, that Albert`s son Erik also would have become a painter ? Do you know something about this ? Thank you

  9. @Kornelia Saure: Erik Edelfelt was born in 1888 so he was 16 years old in 1904. It is not likely that he is the painter. (I have not heard that he would have ever painted.) If there is any possibility of the painting being made by Edelfelt, you should contact a qualified art specialist to find out. In that case it would also be valuable information (for the art expert) to know, how the painting got to your family.

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