viernes, 7 de septiembre de 2018


Christa Zaat

La imagen puede contener: una o varias personas, personas sentadas, niños, exterior y agua

Albert Edelfelt (Finnish painter) 1854 - 1905
Laivanrakentajat (Shipbuilders), 1886
oil on canvas laid down on panel
135 x 94 cm. (53.15 x 37 in.)
signed A. Edelfelt and dated 1886

private collection
© photo Bukowskis

Catalogue Note Bukowskis
Albert Edelfelt's exquisite depiction of the archipelago, with the playful boys on the beach, was executed late in the summer of 1886, in the artist's studio at Haiko. The studio had been built a few years earlier, in the summer of 1883. Edelfelt's biographer Bertel Hintze writes:

"In the summer of 1883, Edelfelt erected a summer studio on Haiko. In tandem with his plein air studies after nature he also wanted to pursue compositions on a larger scale, which were impossible to carry out on the actual spot, due to rapidly changing weather and light. From now on Edelfelt's larger open air compositions were mainly painted in the new studio”.

That the Haiko studio played an important part in Edelfelt’s development as an artist is evident also in the writings of Soili Sinisalo who gives us the following information:

“The birthplace for Edelfelt’s paintings of ordinary Finnish people was usually Haiko in the province of Uusimaa, where he built a summer studio in 1883 as he spent most of his summers working in Finland. Long journeys of exploration deep into the forest and living in the heart of the countryside did not appeal to Edelfelt as it did to Gallen-Kallela. Edelfelt was a gentleman who was accustomed to living in Paris. For him, the local people of Uusimaa with whom he came in contact in the vicinity of his summer villa were quite sufficient to represent the Finnish people”.

In March 1886 Edelfelt, for the first time, spent a few weeks at the French Riviera. The journey that passed through Provence to Nice, Cannes, Menton and Genoa and later took Edelfelt home via Monte Carlo and Marseille proved a lasting experience for the artist who was enraptured by the colour scheme of southern Europe, of its deep blue skies and bright sun. The intensity of the experience is apparent in a letter to his mother where the artist writes: "When the sun is bathing everything and the sea is clear blue behind, it is a pleasure and pure bliss to look at all this ‘délire de couleurs’ ".

Bertel Hintze, once again, has stated that Edelfelt's painting from the period:

"is entirely in tune with the Impressionist rendering of natural light. The capturing of the fleeting moment, the pure, shining colour [...] against the pearly gray tones of the sun glittering on the surface of the water, the soft atmosphere that sweeps the background and clads it in a silvery haze, the swift brushstrokes, which seem to be permeated by sunshine and warm trembling air".

When the painting was shown at Edelfelt's exhibition in Helsinki in the fall of 1886, the newspapers singularly praised the artist’s "glorious rendering of sunlight" and "the depiction of transparent air". The largest painting, the present lot "Shipbuilders", received the following praise by an enthusiastic reviewer:

"rarely, did you see a more superior treatment of light, rarely has an artist in a happier way captured the characteristics of a clear Nordic summer day ".

Hintze concludes:

"In these works from the summer of 1886, Edelfelt has reached one of the goals he has been striving towards ever since his naturalist breakthrough work 'Conveying the Child's Coffin' [1879]: to capture and reproduce the archipelago's distinctive, clear atmosphere, in which colours appear with a distinctive sharpness, which is fundamentally strange to contemporary French painting, characterized by the moisture-saturated air and the faint light of the plains around Paris. In these works we’re faced, for the first time, with an Impressionistic painting that completely expresses the distinct and unique character of Finland's own nature”.

* * *

Together with Helene Sofia Schjerfbeck, Albert Edelfelt is today one of the most well-known Finnish artists.Edelfelt was born into a Swedish-speaking aristocratic family and educated at the Imperial University in Helsinki. He was early on frustrated by the unprogressive atmosphere of the university and left in 1873 to enroll in the Antwerp Academy of Art. He studied history painting there for six months before moving to Paris in 1874. Paris was the premiere destination for artists all over the world due to its position as the most culturally and artistically progressive city at the end of the nineteenth century. Edelfelt was immediately drawn to the Parisian lifestyle and encouraged by the endless opportunities personally and professionally. Not only did the extensive network of museums, galleries and dealers provide constant stimulation for the aspiring artist, but the wealthy, sophisticated Parisians proved a ready clientele. Concurrent with his move from the conservative city of Antwerp to the cosmopolitan French capital, was Edelfelt's turn away from history painting toward painting scenes of contemporary life. Edelfelt went on to become the leading proponent of Finnish Realism and his native country's most important cultural export of the 19th century.
Chez l'artiste is a paean to the belle époque culture Edelfelt so deeply admired. By the late 19th century, France was enjoying the spoils of the 1860s economic boom and money flowed freely into the newly emerging middle class. As members of the bourgeoisie rose in rank in society, they actively filled their homes with social and cultural signifiers to communicate their cosmopolitan-mindedness. Artists, the arbiters of taste and fashion, also participated in this collective consumption of "things," and in Chez l'artiste Edelfelt effectively captures the current vogue of japonisme and the prevailing urge toward projecting sophistication and intellectual curiosity. A beautiful and fashionable young lady, Edelfelt's mistress, Virginie, sorts bemusedly through an artist's collection of prints, a Japanese fan resting casually on her lap. Edelfelt's latest chef-d'oeuvre sits half-concealed on his easel at the right; yet our eye is drawn to Virginie's magnificent dress whose frothy trimmings are the central focus of the composition. Tellingly, this costume was lent by Edelfelt's friend, Princess Troubetskoy, specifically for the Chez l'artiste sitting.
Edelfelt is known to have painted a half-sized replica of Chez l'artiste in 1881, commissioned by Bulla on behalf of a New York dealer, probably Knoedler (see Hintze 1942, no. 160). The same year, his original was engraved by Charles Baude and photographed by Michelez.

Source: Wikipedia

La imagen puede contener: una o varias personas, personas sentadas, niños, exterior y agua

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