Author: Leena Ahtola-Moorhouse

A level gaze

Issue 3/2003 | Archives online, Articles, Non-fiction

The artist Helene Schjerfbeck created her own form of modernism, giving pride of place to emotion, writes Leena Ahtola-Moorhouse. Throughout her solitary life, permanently affiicted by a physical handicap resulting from a childhood accident, Schjerfbeck looked into the mirror for inspiration. In her novel Helene the author Rakel Liehu takes a look at Schjerfbeck’s mirror images and the painter’s long life

Helene Schjerfbeck (1862–1946) was passionately interested in human beings and their inner lives – the riddle of the face.

She was one of the few artists of her generation who both created masterpieces in the naturalistic and impressionistic style of her youth and was also able to shift to an entirely modern, expressionist mode. Intensity and control only increased in the avant-garde paintings of her late period. These bear comparison with the work of Picasso, Modigliani and Rouault. More…