Finland • 1865−1931

Akseli Valdemar Gallen-Kallela (fin. Akseli Gallen-Kallela April 26, 1865, Pori, Grand Duchy of Finland — March 7, 1931, Stockholm, Sweden) is a Finnish artist, best known for the illustrations to the Kalevala. In the period of awakening of national pride when a massive translation of foreign names in the Finnish language, has changed its Swedish name "Gallen" in the Finnish manner — "Kallela", and joined both of writing in a double surname.

Born in Pori in the family of a lawyer. Since 1881 he studied in Helsinki and from 1884 at the académie Julian in Paris. Early paintings ("the Boy and the crow", 1884, "the First lesson", 1889, Ateneum, Helsinki) differ by an exact realistic depiction of the Finnish people's life and nature. In the 1890's, Gallen-Kallela refers to the Finnish national epos (triptych "Legend of Aino", 1891, "Lemminkainen's Mother", 1897 — in the Athenaeum; etchings, illustrations). In his work he used the symbolism and artistic techniques of the art Nouveau style, which is especially noticeable in cycles of paintings in the funerary chapel of Pori in (1901-1903) and in the Finnish pavilion at the world exhibition in Paris (1900). In these works, notable his political views, so in the mural, "snake Ilmarinen plowing the field" one of the vipers is an Imperial crown, which symbolizes the desire to see a free Finland. At the same time Gallen-Kallela create realistic landscapes ("Imatra in winter", 1893, Ateneum), portraits (of M. Gorky, 1906, Ateneum), illustrations (for the novel "Seven brothers" by A. Kivi, 1906-07). In the 1920-ies he made a series of beautiful, devoted to East Africa.

In 1918, Gallen-Kallela and his son took part in the fighting in the Finnish civil war. Later, General Mannerheim invited Gallen-Kallela to design flags, state symbols (emblem and flag of the Republic of Ukhta, the order of the White rose of Finland, order of the cross of Liberty) and uniform independent Finland. In 1919 he was appointed adjutant to Mannerheim. The artist was developed by Finnish shaped bayonet knife of a sample of 1919, issued by the company Fiskars.

From December 1923 to may 1926, Gallen-Kallela lived in the United States, where an exhibition of his paintings.

He died of pneumonia in Stockholm on 7 March 1931, while returning with a lecture in Copenhagen.

In 1961, his Studio and the house was turned into a Museum Gallen-Kallela.

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