Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Finland / 1865 - 1931 / wikipedia
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Akseli Gallen-Kallela (26 April 1865 – 7 March 1931); Swedish-speaking Finnish painter best known for his illustrations of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. His work was considered very important for the Finnish national identity. He changed his name from Gallen to Gallen-Kallela in 1907.

Born Axel Waldemar Gallén in Pori, Finland in a Swedish-speaking family. His father Peter Gallén worked as police chief and lawyer. At age 11 he was sent to Helsinki to study at a grammar school, because his father opposed his ambition to become a painter. After his father's death in 1879, Gallen-Kallela attended drawing classes at the Finnish Art Society and studied privately under Adolf von Becker.

In 1884 he moved to Paris, to study at the Académie Julian. In Paris he became friends with Finnish painter Albert Edelfelt, Norwegian painter Adam Dörnberger, and Swedish writer August Strindberg.

He married Mary Slöör in 1890. The couple had 3 children, Impi Marjatta, Kirsti and Jorma. On their honeymoon to East Karelia, Gallen-Kallela started collecting material for his depictions of the Kalevala. This period is characterized by romantic paintings of the Kalevala, like the Aino triptych, and by several landscape paintings.

In December 1894, Gallen-Kallela moved to Berlin to oversee a joint exhibition of his works with the works of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. Here he became acquainted with the Symbolists.

In March 1895, he received a telegram that his daughter Impi Marjatta had died from diphtheria. This would prove to be a turning point in his work. While his works had previously been romantic, after his daughter's death Gallen-Kallela painted more aggressive works like the Defense of the Sampo, Joukahainen's Revenge, Kullervo Cursing and Lemminkäinen's Mother.

...In 1909, Gallen-Kallela moved to Nairobi in Kenya with his family, and there he painted over 150 expressionist oil paintings... (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akseli_Gallen-Kallela)
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