Original title: Ella
Author: Mari Tossavainen
Genre: Memories & Biographies
English sample & synopsis
The story of the most well-known Finnish artist in the world, supplemented by previously unpublished correspondence
Helene Schjerfbeck (1862–1946) is one of the most well-known Finnish artists in the world. Her modernist and realist works have been on display in galleries all over Europe, North America and Asia, a biographical film based on her life was released in 2020, and her birthday, July 10th, is a national day for the painted arts in Finland.
This fascinating book, drawing on previously unpublished correspondence and archival materials, paints a far more multithreaded picture of the life and artistic work of Helene Schjerfbeck and brings into light the significance of previously forgotten people in her creative work.
In her letters, Schjerfbeck divulged both her works and her thoughts not only to fellow artists, but also to her art dealer Gösta Stenman and people outside the artistic world. Among others, this book elucidates the friendship between Schjerfbeck and her childhood governess, Lina Ingman. The letters Schjerfbeck wrote to Ingman during the 1920s and 1930s have warmth in them and she signed them with her beloved childhood nickname, Ella.
Ph.D. Mari Tossavainen has done a tremendous job of going through the correspondence and the extensive research and writings on Helene Schjerfbeck and by commenting on the various interpretations. [---] Reading Ella - Helene Schjerfbeck gives a good overview of what is known about the artist, enriched by the clarification provided by the new letters.
– Pirkko Kotirinta, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
FINLAND: Otava (orig.)