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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Helene Schjerfbeck
FINNISH
FLAXEN-HAIRED BOY
JUMP TO LOT
13

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Helene Schjerfbeck
FINNISH
FLAXEN-HAIRED BOY
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Paintings

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London

Helene Schjerfbeck
1862 - 1946
FINNISH
FLAXEN-HAIRED BOY
bears signature HS upper right
oil on canvas
36 by 28.5cm.,14¼ by 11¼in.
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We are grateful to Leena Ahtola-Moorhouse for her assistance in cataloguing this work.

Exhibited

Helsinki, Art House, Helena Schjerfbeck Memorial Exhibition, 1980, no. 5

Literature

H. Athela (Einar Reuter), Helena Schjerfbeck, Stockholm, 1953, p. 356, no. 56, catalogued (as Linbårig gosse, dated circa 1880)
Helene Schjerfbeck: Finland's Modernist Revisited, exh. cat., Helsinki, 1992, p. 110, no. 34, catalogued & illustrated (dated circa 1880)
Helene Schjerfbeck 150 Years, exh. cat., Helsinki, 2012, p. 90, no. 23, catalogued & illustrated (dated circa 1878)

Catalogue Note

Dated circa 1880 by Einar Reuter, but perhaps painted as early as 1878 when Schjerfbeck was just sixteen years old and studying with Adolf von Becker in Helsinki, this charming portrait exemplifies the artist's early work and her precocious talent, following her admission to the Academy at the age of just eleven. While the identity of the boy is unknown, his pale blond hair and blue eyes could almost make him a younger brother to The Wounded Warrior in The Snow, Schjerfbeck's breakthrough work of 1880, and the boy's features and innocent expression anticipate the young girl from St Ives in The Convalescent of 1888. Perhaps most strikingly of all, the pink of the boy's shirt, painted freely wet-on-wet, would reappear in a number of Schjerfbeck's late works as the background colour in Self-Portrait with Black Mouth of 1939 (Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki), or as the colour of the veil in Madonna de la Charité, after El Greco of 1941 (Private Collection), suggesting she recognised personal significance in the colour at a very early stage. 

19th Century European Paintings

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London