Saturday, June 14, 2008

On the Way to Church

Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1945)
On the Way to Church ; Churchgoers ; Easter Morning, 1895-1900
Oil on canvas 70 x 95cm
Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki

Helene Schjerfbeck (10 July 1862 – 28 January 1946) was a Finnish painter. She is most commonly known for her realist works and self-portraits

In 1880 she left to live in France until the 1890s. She also travelled to Florence, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Brittany and England.

An outsider, she was plagued by ill-health her entire life. She had fallen down a flight of stairs and broken her hip at age four. Her injury mended badly, leaving her with a pronounced limp that made it impossible for her to attend school. It also impeded her mobility and kept her in fragile health for the rest of her life.

In Finland she is a national heroine, and across all of Scandinavia she has gained near-mythical status, yet in the rest of Europe she is virtually unknown.

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