Lake Keitele A Vision of Finland Anne Robbins

Publication date:
15 Nov 2017
National Gallery London
72 pages: 260 x 235mm
39 color illus.
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In 1999, Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s Lake Keitele (1905) became the first Finnish painting to enter the National Gallery and is now one of the most popular pictures in the collection. Although the artist and his work are relatively unknown to audiences outside of Finland, he was not only a leading figure in modern Finnish painting but an accomplished practitioner of the decorative arts and a key figure in the development of early twentieth-century Modernism.

This book focuses on four versions of his shimmering depictions of Lake Keitele, north of Helsinki; a stylized lake composition which first appeared in the early 1880s, when the artist was still elaborating his own descriptive language, and continued to preoccupy him until well into the 1920s. Anne Robbins examines these abstract and modernist pictures in the light of the international avant gardes with which Gallen-Kallela was in contact for much of his career, and the ways in which his work expressed his fervent Finnish nationalism.

Anne Robbins is associate curator of post-1800 paintings at the National Gallery, London.