Ranskalainen viinikapakka (Le Franc, Wine Merchant, Boulevard de Clichy, Paris), 1888
oil on canvas
61 x 74 cm. (22.05 x 29.13 in.)
Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland
Eero Erik Nikolai Järnefelt was born on 8 November 1863 in Viipuri, Finland, the son of August Aleksander Järnefelt, a general in the Russian army, and Elisabeth Järnefelt (née Clodt von Jürgensburg). His sisters and brothers were Kasper, Arvid, Aino Ellida, Ellen, Armas, Hilja and Sigrid. He studied at the St. Petersburg Art Academy between 1883 and 1885 - the school at which Albert Edelfelt had studied. In 1886 he went to study in Paris, where he became friends with Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Emil Wikström and Louis Sparre, and was inspired by the plein-air and naturalistic paintings of Jules Bastien-Lepage.
On a trip to Keuruu in 1889, he met actress Saimi Swan. They were married in 1890. In 1892 his sister Aino Jarnefelt married the composer, Jean Sibelius.
Eero Järnefelt was one of the most important figures in the golden age of Finnish art. He is best known for capturing the majestic landscapes of Koli and as a master of portraiture. Other themes that were close to his heart included Suviranta, his lakeside atelier home by Tuusulanjärvi, and the surrounding nature, as well as members of his family.