Lot 7
  • 7

Helene Schjerfbeck

70,000 - 100,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Helene Schjerfbeck
  • Trees
  • signed with initials lower right
  • oil on board


Gösta Stenman (1888-1947; acquired from the artist)
Private collection (by 1953)
Sale: Bukowski's, Stockholm, 19 April 1978, lot 236
Purchased by the late owner at the above sale


Stockholm, Stenmans Konstsalong, 1944, no. 120
Stockholm, Stenmans Konstsalong, Helene Schjerfbeck: in memoriam, 1946, no. 117


H. Ahtela (Einar Reuter), Helene Schjerfbeck, Stockholm, 1953, p. 370, no. 893
Helene Schjerfbeck, exh. cat., Ateneum, Helsinki, 1992, p. 276, no. 453, catalogued & illustrated
Helene Schjerfbeck: 150 years, exh. cat., Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, 2012, p. 324, no. 656, catalogued & illustrated (as Trees on the Shore)

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1942.

Exemplifying her increasingly free, abstracted late style, Trees belongs to a small series of works on paper and on board that Schjerfbeck painted that year. Schjerbeck executed the present view from her window at the Luontola sanatorium in Nummela, where she had moved with assistance from Gösta Stenman's daughter Maja Rydman. Looking out over lake Hiidenvesi, whose name means literally 'devil's water', Schjerfbeck wrote of having been captivated by the changing light and colours of the landscape. In its sensitivity and restrained tonal harmonies the composition bears comparison with Nicolas de Staël and Giorgio Morandi. 

An inscription by Stenman on the verso identifies the view and the date of the present work. Trees was exhibited by Stenman with 133 other works by Schjerfbeck in 1944, one of the largest exhibitions staged during the artist's latter years. Stenman organised another exhibition of nearly 150 works (including the present work) in the year of her death, when memorial exhibitions were also held in Helsinki at the Artek gallery and the Finnish Fine Arts Society. 

Schjerfbeck's artistic production in these years acquired a striking new intensity and vigour best demonstrated by the twenty unflinchingly frank and original self-portraits which are among the highlights of her oeuvre.