artist: Helene Schjerfbeck (Finnish 1862-1946)
medium: offset lithograph
dimensions: 42 x 47 cm framed size (approx)
from an edition of 500 from the portfolio 'Helene Schjerfbeck: Fyrtioatta Reproduktioner', published in 1945 by Nordisk Rotogravyr, Stockholm. This is from the set 156/500.
Helene Schjerfbeck is one of Finland's most famous artists. She grew up in poor conditions in a Finnish-Swedish family in Helsinki. When Schjerfbeck fell down a flight of stairs at the age of four and suffered a serious hip injury, the family could not pay for medical care and the result was that Schjerfbeck had a limp and was plagued by pain throughout his life. Already in her teens, Helene Schjerfbeck won great appreciation for her traditional history painting and received scholarships for studies in Paris and trips to Italy and Russia. Returning to her hometown of Helsinki, she was for a time a teacher at the Art Association's drawing school, but did not thrive in the Finnish capital's artist circles with their national romantic painting, but retreated to Hyvingi and Ekenäs in southern Finland, where she developed her distinctive modernist style, inspired by studies in art books of the great French artists. Schjerfbeck is best known for her stripped-down self-portraits - the most and most famous of which she painted in the years 1939–1945 when she was around eighty years old. But she also has other famous paintings, such as paintings of children and several still lifes. Through the art dealer Gösta Stenman in Stockholm, she became known and was given the opportunity to exhibit. Today, she is represented at the Ateneum and Gyllenberg Art Museum in Helsinki, as well as in many Finnish and Swedish private collections.