November 25, 1925
The Brooklyn Museum announces that the picture Galleries of its new wing will be opened on November 20th with an exhibition of paintings in oil of American subjects by groups of American artists and of paintings by Dr. Axel Gallen-Kallela of Finland and other European artists.
The plan of the American section of the exhibition is to present in the metropolis the works of painters whose activities have been largely confined to certain localities in this country, or of those who assemble in colonies through personal or professional sympathy and animated by a common inspiration. No attempt has been made to draw upon the various groups of the entire country but in the East such groups as those in Gloucester, Provincetown, Wilton, Silvermine, Lyme, Woodstock and New Hope have been drawn upon. Among larger centres which have contributed are Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis, while Brooklyn and Long Island constitute another source and an additional group represents the Southwest. Following its custom the Museum aims to show more than one example by each exhibitor and furthermore it lays emphasis on the works of the younger painters.
Another section of the exhibition constitutes an international group representative of the Scandinavian countries, Spain and the Argentine. The paintings of Dr. Axel Gullen-Kallela represent the work of an artist which has been ranked with Edelfeldt as typifying the spirit of the art of Finland. Gullen-Kallela's paintings were awarded a medal of honor at the San Francisco Exposition and they will be exhibited in Brooklyn in conjunction with those of Brynjulf Strandenaes, Oscar Ohatthieseu, Edvard Munch, Helmer Mas-Olle, Edvard Rosenberg, Gustav Fjaestud, Anna Boberg, and several other Scandinavian artists. The Spanish paintings represent the work of a number of young painters who have achieved distinction in their native country but who are as yet comparatively unknown hereabouts. Conspicuous among these is a group of eighteen canvases by Jose Gutierrez Solana and the catalogue also includes Pedro Antonio, Jose Marti-Garces, Jose Mongrell Torrent, Joaquim Mir, Jose Lopez Mesquita and the Angentine painter, Tito Cittadini. The exhibition will be opened on the afternoon of Friday, November 20th, with a private view and tea for members of the Museum and their friends and will be open to the public thereafter. As already announced the new permanent installation of Tissot's paintings of the Life of Christ, together with Dr. Shick's models of the Temples of Jerusalem, will be first shown on this occasion.
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1916 - 1930. 1925, 058-9. View Original
November 25, 1925
Axel Gallen-Kallela was born in Björneborg, Finland, in 1865. He began as a realist, influenced by the French technique. He wished to picture Finland, prove the beauty in its barren landscape, paint the smoky cabins where hardy peasants rested from their labors, and bath-houses with figures glimpsed through clouds of steam. "Noonday Rest" in the Göteborg Museum, and "A Boy Blowing a Birch-bark Horn" belong to this class. Without a trace of sentimentality or the anecdotal he has painted one of the folk-life motifs in "The First Lesson" (1857), in such a manner that one has as much admiration for the chiaroscuro as for the father's naive amazement at his little daughter and her learning.
As early as 1891 he attempted to reproduce a motif from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, printed in 1835 and which, since that time, has done so much to heighten the feeling for the typical Finnish. It was the Aino myth which he depicted in three panels (1891). The chief character in the epic, the old singer Väinämöinen, tells Aino of his love, and the young girl attempts to escape the old man by seeking death in the waves. "The Forging of Sampo" (1893) was done in the same realistic style, but after that in accordance with the art conception when prevalent in Europe, Gallen began to simplify and conventinalize his style, and in this he has perhaps gone farthest in his art, imparting a real greatness and authenticity to these witch-like old women and revengeful and morose peasant types who brewed poisons and hid themselves among Finland's birches. "Kullervo cursing" (1900) glimpsed half naked, his face distorted in frenzy among the stunted firs, the magnificently decorated "Kullervo on the war path", and not least "The Revenge of Joukahainen" show that Gallen belongs to the truly great artists. He has succeeded in giving artistic form to Finnish fantasy. Therefore, he has quite naturally met a wave of gratitude in his country, where, in the nature of things, the nationalistic element is greater than the art interest. Gallen is also a distinguished etcher.
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1916 - 1930. 1925, 060-1. View Original