Helene Schjerfbeck. Och jag målar ändå [Helene Schjerfbeck. And I still paint]

16 December 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Helene Schjerfbeck. Och jag målar ändå. Brev till Maria Wiik 1907–1928
[Helene Schjerfbeck. And I still paint. Letters to Maria Wiik 1907–1928]
Utgivna av [Edited by]: Lena Holger
Helsingfors: Svenska Litteratursällskapet i Finland; Stockholm: Bokförlaget Atlantis, 2011. 301 p., ill.
ISBN (Finland) 978-951-583-233-7
ISBN (Sweden) 978-91-7353-524-3
€ 44, hardback
In Finnish:
Helene Schjerfbeck. Silti minä maalaan. Taiteilijan kirjeitä
[Helene Schjerfbeck. And I still paint. Letters from the artist]
Toimittanut [Edited by]: Lena Holger
Suomennos [Translated by]: Laura Jänisniemi
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2011. 300 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-222-305-0
€ 44, hardback

This work contains a half of the collection of some 200 letters (owned by the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg’s foundation), until now unpublished, from artist Helene Schjerfbeck (1862–1946) to her artist friend Maria Wiik (1853–1928), dating from 1907 to 1928. They are selected and commented by the Swedish art historian Lena Holger. Schjerfbeck lived most of her life with her mother in two small towns, Hyvinge (in Finnish, Hyvinge) and Ekenäs (Tammisaari), from 1902 to 1938, mainly poor and often ill. In her youth Schjerfbeck was able to travel in Europe, but after moving to Hyvinge it took her 15 years to visit Helsinki again. In these letters she writes vividly about art and her painting, as well as about her isolated everyday life. Despite often very difficult circumstances, she never gave up her ambitions and high standards. Her brilliant, amazing, extensive series of self-portraits are today among the most sought-after north European paintings;  she herself stayed mostly poor all her long life. The book is richly illustrated with Schjerfbeck’s paintings (mainly from the period), drawings and photographs.

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