Colour and Light

by Alain Chivilò


Impressionism was global and influenced the painting technique of many artists from other nations. The Impressionist movement began the era of trends that set a precedent in feeling a new way of painting. See nature and make art. Painting the moment seen in a different and new way.

The exhibition “Colour & Light – The Legacy of Impressionism” at Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki puts in evidence the strong influence of Impressionism on Finnish art.

Circa 150 works among drawings, prints, sculptures and paintings, covering a period from 1860 to 1916, feature artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Paul Signac in connection with Magnus Enckell, Ellen Thesleff, Alfred William Finch and Tyko Sallinen. An interplay which Finnish artists in Paris encountered Impressionism living it and bringing it to their home country accordingly.

“Colour & Light – The Legacy of Impressionism” is an oppoutunity to observe how Impressionism has influenced and infused new stylistic forms and subjects into the way of painting and sculpture within Finnish art. The exhibition has loans from the Clark Art Institute and the Musée D’Orsay including the Ateneum’s collection. It is curated by Marja Sakari (Museum Director) and Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff (Chief Curator), with involvement from world-leading Impressionism expert Professor Anthea Callen. 

The exhibition includes artists from other groups and movements that emerged from Finnish Colourism: the Septem Group, the first group formed by Finnish artists which included Thesleff, Enckell and Thomé, who continued to push the possibilities of colour (often echoing the Fauvist palette of Matisse) and the November Group, which included founding member Tyko Sallinen, whose nude figures marked a move towards more expressionistic styles.


©AC, NDSL, AM, Alain Chivilo

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