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PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Helene Schjerfbeck
FINNISH
MY FATHER
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 212,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
15

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Helene Schjerfbeck
FINNISH
MY FATHER
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 212,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Paintings

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London

Helene Schjerfbeck
1862 - 1946
FINNISH
MY FATHER
signed with initials lower right
oil on canvas
55.5 by 48.5cm., 21¾ by 19in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

We are grateful to Leena Ahtola-Moorhouse for her assistance in cataloguing this work.

Provenance

Gösta Stenman (1888-1947, the artist's dealer); thence by descent
Acquired by the grandfather of the present owners in the mid-1980s, possibly from the above

Exhibited

Stockholm, Stenmans konstsalong, Helene Schjerfbeck, 1954, no. 105
Stockholm, Stenmans konstsalong, Helene Schjerfbeck, 1958, no. 100
Stockholm, Stenmans konstsalong, Helene Schjerfbeck: Centenary exhibition, 1962, no. 96
Stockholm, Stenmans konstsalong, Helene Schjerfbeck, 1967, no. 64

Literature

H. Ahtela (Einar Reuter), Helena Schjerfbeck, Stockholm, 1953, p. 370, no. 913, listed (as Min far III. 1943)

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1943.

While Schjerfbeck painted numerous portraits of her mother Olga seated sewing or reading, her late father Svante is a much rarer subject in her oeuvre. In February 1876, some 70 years before the present work was painted, Svante died of tuberculosis when Helene was aged just 13. While Helene was greatly influenced and encouraged by her father, Svante’s death left the young family impoverished, and it was only thanks to a family friend that Schjerfbeck could subsequently pursue her artistic education at Adolf von Becker’s academy.

Working both from memory and a daguerrotype (fig. 1), the artist achieves a successful synthesis. While Svante remains a man of his time in formal late 19th century dress, Schjerfbeck transforms the scene with her modernist style, creating an image suspended in time.

The present work is the culmination of a series of three versions of the subject: the first from 1928 (Ahtela no. 658, Min far I, 54 by 43.5cm, private collection), while the second (Ahtela no. 912, 55 by 47cm) and the present work were completed in 1943. The second version now hangs in the Didrichsen Art Museum and was included in the Schjerfbeck exhibitions in 2007 and 2012. Although very similar to the second version, the present work is painted with more definition, and with slightly less of Svante's hand visible along the lower edge.

Schjerfbeck painted the present work in the final years of her career, at a time when she was reinterpreting both her earlier subjects and the works of Old Masters, notably El Greco. In early 1942 she moved to the Luontola sanatorium in Nummela, later relocating definitively to Saltsjöbaden outside Stockholm in February 1944, where she would spend her final years.

19th Century European Paintings

|
London