1896Détrempe sur toileH. 122 ; L. 125 cmFinlande, Turku, Turku Art Museum© Turku Art Museum / Photo Kari Lehtinen”]
7 February to 6 May 2012 – Musee d’Orsay
The matter is always up for debate: is Finland part of Scandinavia or not? Our readers will forgive us for chosing to put in this newsletter that came in from the cold (and in perfect coordination with the forecasts announced by the weather man), next to Hammershoi and the Swedish drawers, a major Finnish artist who nevertheless has never been shown in France even though he studied there in his youth. Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931), who studied at the académie Julian, was then admired for his large compositions in the Finnish pavilion at the Universal Exposition of 1900 (also in Paris), is a sort of Northern cousin of the Mexican muralists. Just like them, he needs large spaces and the inspiration from odes to express himself. Just like them, he rewrites the great founding myths – not the founding of Tenochtitlán but rather the saga of Kalevala – with a type of lyr ism nourished by the many influences he received– from the Tuscan softness to the exuberance of black Africa.

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