Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland

Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland


In 1999, Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s Lake Keitele (1905) became the first Finnish painting to enter the National Gallery and is now one of the most popular pictures in the collection. Although the artist and his work are relatively unknown to audiences outside of Finland, he was not only a leading figure in modern Finnish painting but an accomplished practitioner of the decorative arts and a key figure in the development of early twentieth-century Modernism.

This book focuses on four versions of his shimmering depictions of Lake Keitele, north of Helsinki; a stylised lake composition which first appeared in the early 1880s, when the artist was still elaborating his own descriptive language, and continued to preoccupy him until well into the 1920s. Anne Robbins examines these abstract and modernist pictures in the light of the international avant gardes with which Gallen-Kallela was in contact for much of his career, and the ways in which his work expressed his fervent Finnish nationalism.

Accompanies the exhibition at the National Gallery, London 15 November 2017 – 4 February 2018, which marks the centenary of Finland’s independence.


ANNE ROBBINS is Associate Curator of Post-1800 Paintings at the National Gallery, London.

Product Code 1044763
Author Anne Robbins
Colour illustrations 35
Dimensions 26 x 24 cm
Format Hardback
ISBN 978 1 85709 6248
Pages 72
Publisher National Gallery Company Ltd
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