Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Art Review - "The Convalescent" by Helene Schjerfbeck - Ateneum Museum, Helsinki, Finland

Today's #MuseumTourTuesday features a beautiful piece by Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck at the Ateneum Museum.

Helene painted a wide variety of subjects, and her approach changed dramatically over the course of her career, beginning with French-influenced realism and evolving into more modern expressionistic work reminiscent of Edvard Munch.
 
This piece won the bronze medal at the 1889 Paris World Fair. While the subject matter of a sick child was common at the time, Helene's painting is all about recovery and was originally titled "First Greenery." It conveys a wonderful sense of hope.
 
Technically, the painting is a masterful exploration of varying textures and surfaces, from the slightly reflected surface of the table, the soft folds of the sheet and pillow, and of course the amazing rendering of the wicker chair. The artist's handling of color is also particularly striking, with a warm light illuminating the scene from the right, while cool light from the window on the left adds a contrasting color vibration. Just look at those lavender highlights on the back of the child's hair and hand. A truly great piece.
 
"The Convalescent" • Helene Schjerfbeck • Oil • 1888 • 92 cm x 107 cm

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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