Lot 369
  • 369

Akseli Gallen-Kallela Finnish 1865-1931

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  • Akseli Gallen-Kallela
  • Maisema Afrikasta - Sinilinnut (Landscape with Bluebirds)

  • signed with monogram and dated 1909 l.l.

  • oil on canvas


Kirsti Gallen-Kallela (the artist’s daughter)
Galleria Husa, Tampere
Purchased from the above by the family of the present owner in 1975


Tampere, Taidemuseo, Akseli & Young Finland, Akseli Gallen-Kallela as a Nation-Builder, 2006, n.n.

Catalogue Note

International interest in the work of Akseli Gallen-Kallela has been gaining ground in recent years. In 1999 the National Gallery in London purchased Keitele, one of Gallen-Kallela's most  sublime landscapes, and an iconic image of Finland. During this year and last the artist has been the subject of a major retrospective in Tampere (Akseli and Young Finland, Akseli Gallen-Kallela as a Nation Builder) and in Groninger, Holland (Akseli Gallen-Kallela: The Spirit of Finland). His work formed a key component of the major exhibition A Mirror of Nature, Nordic Landscape Painting 1840-1910, which toured throughout Scandinavia and to Minneapolis in 2006. In March this year the artist was the subject of a major article in Art in America by Joe Martin Hill. Lots 365-369 have been sent for sale from different national and international collections.

Painted at the Brick house located on the plain outside Nairobi at the edge of the savannah. A single storey building, outside there were plants growing, a banana tree, a couple of orange trees, a flowering magnolia, geraniums and tame guineafowl - the subject of the present work - that used to run around the house and hide under the geraniums.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela was forty-four years old when he journied to Africa with Mary his wife and their children Kirsti and Jorma. His quest was to discover an untouched wilderness and the continent's indigenous people. He wrote: 'I shall go there to the wilderness to where the natives, lions, ostriches and rhinos dwell. Perhaps there still dwells some branch of the Kalevalian people that has become extinct in Finland. There one can live as oneself and ignore all things modern. I must go there to feel at least for once that I am living! You do understand, I must see it  - and paint!'

During the nearly two years he was in Africa Gallen-Kallela painted some 150 paintings. Capturing the vibrant colours, relentless heat and extreme conditions that Gallen-Kallela experienced in Kenya, his paintings express the extraordinary richness of the life he discovered there, from every day events to the recording of epic hunting achievements.

Gallen-Kallela made several well documented safaris, including a month long hunting safari to Southern Kenya with his guide Adolf Heyer; beginning at the Voi station, their trek went through Tsavo northward to the regions of Kibwezi and Makindu along the Athi River and back to Nairobi. Another safari began at the end of March 1910, and included all the family. Lasting almost four months they toured the Tana River and the Eastern slopes of Mount Kenya. Gallen-Kellala made a third safari of four weeks with eleven year old Jorma in the Makindu region. Gallen-Kallela and his wife and children started back to Finland in November 1910.