Lot 211
  • 211

Akseli Gallen-Kallela

60,000 - 80,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Akseli Gallen-Kallela
  • Lake View in Autumn
  • signed with the monogram and dated Kalela / 1905 lower left
  • oil on canvas
  • 65 by 135cm., 25½ by 53¼in.


Acquired by the grandfather of the present owner in the early twentieth century, probably directly from the artist

Catalogue Note

The present expansive bird's eye view, looking either across Lake Keitele or over Lake Ruovesi, records the calm waters and majestic shoreline of an autumn scene. The contrast of the flat surface of the lake with the strong vertical forms of the trees creates a reassuring structure and a contemplative mood; a poetic panoramic sliver of Finnish countryside that expresses the nation's primal instinct to define its sense of self through its landscape.

After centuries of Swedish rule, in 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars Finland had become an autonomous Grand Duchy of Czarist Russia. Yet for Gallen-Kallela, like the vast majority of the Finnish people, patriotism and the quest to define their national identity remained a vital force within them. But in 1899 the Czar, the appointed Grand Duke of Finland, reneged on the promise honoured by his predecessors to respect Finnish laws and priviliges, and in his February manifeso abolished the country's most important special rights. It was in the face of this heightened tension with Finland's Imperialist neighbour that Gallen-Kallela helped so incisively to give form to the Finnish spirit, painting the Finnish legends, building his wilderness studio Kalela and transcribing the Finnish landscape into what Janne Gallen-Kallela-Sirén has aptly described as a 'codex of national identity'.

That Gallen-Kallela's landscapes became so analagous to the will of the Finnish people, was due in large degree to the original vantage points that he adopted in order to record the scene before him. The 'crow's nest' view point in the present painting is similar to that which he enjoyed from the roof his wilderness studio.  But  whether panning tree tops, or focusing on a particular rocky outdrop (lot 205) while his documenting is coolly dispassionate, his message proved highly emotive.