Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea – Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s Turbulent 1910s

28.1.2017 - 3.9.2017


From the warmth of Africa into the clutches of bailiffs in Finland, from the events of First World War to the hidden reaches of the wilderness, and from there to the front in the Finnish Civil War and then drawing and designing for the military headquarters and serving as aide of the Regent of Finland.

The early 20th century was a time of major change in Finland, and life led also Akseli Gallen-Kallela and his family in many directions.

At the time, Akseli Gallen-Kallela was a well-known artist, but his prominent position had negative aspects: he was criticised by young artists and mocked in cartoons in the press. Everyday life was one of austerity with no peace and quiet for work. Money was tight and political unrest concerned the whole family.


Akseli Gallen-Kallela: Kirsti Reading War News at Kalela, 1917. Private collection. Photo: Gallen-Kallela Museum / Jukka Paavola

At the Gallen-Kallela Museum, the centenary year of Finnish independence will be launched by an exhibition addressing a period and a topic that still arouses questions and discussion: the 1910s and Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s role in art policies and political change in these years. What can we know about Akseli’s activities during the war, where he was, what he did, and what he told about his feelings?

Guided tours in English: 3rd June, 1st July, 5th August at 2 p.m.


Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland on a neck collar (old version). Designed by Akseli Gallen-Kallela 1919, made 1925 (the Star of the Order) and 1926 (collar). The Order of the White Rose of Finland and the Order Of the Lion of Finland. Photo: Gallen-Kallela Museum / Jukka Paavola


A cartoon of Akseli Gallen-Kallela in the magazine Nya Fyren 9-12/1918. Photo: Gallen-Kallela Museum
















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