Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck is celebrated by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, with a stunning exhibition staged until 27 October at 6 Burlington Gardens. It’s one of the best exhibitions presented in London at the moment.
Schjerfbeck lived through some of the most structuring shifts in modern art, from Impressionism to Surrealism, and in Fashion, from Coco Chanel’s innovative fashion, to pioneering editorial articles published by Marie Claire magazine. The artist forged her own path through self-portraits, natures mortes and fashion-inspired portraits.
Travelling extensively throughout her life, in the 1880s she connected with artists’ colonies in Pont Aven, Brittany and St. Ives, Cornwall. In her later years, she left the Finnish capital for a quieter life that allowed her to concentrate on her work, inspired by Old Masters and local portraitists. Schjerfbeck was always willing to push and take risks rather than repeat past successes.
The exhibition, organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and the Ateneum Art Museum / Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, features over 60 amazing portraits, landscapes and still lifes which demonstrate Schjerfbeck’s lifelong fascination with the physical and psychological process of ageing.