Akseli Waldemar Gallen-Kallela

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gallen-Kallela, Akseli Waldemar


Born May 26, 1865, in Pori, Finland; died Mar. 7, 1931, in Stockholm. Finnish painter.

Gallen-Kallela studied in Helsinki from 1881 and at the Julian Academy in Paris from 1884. His early paintings (The First Lesson, 1889, Ateneum, Helsinki) are grim and accurately realistic representations of Finnish national life and natural scenery. From the 1890’s, Gallen-Kallela addressed himself to the heroic and fantastic themes of the folk epic Kalevala (the triptych The Legend of Aino, 1891; The Mother of Lemminkäinen, 1897, both in the Ateneum, as well as etchings and illustrations). Gallen-Kallela became increasingly involved in symbolism and stylization in the art nouveau spirit. These tendencies became particularly marked in a series of murals (in the mausoleum chapel in Pori, 1901-03 and at the Finnish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900). At the same time Gallen-Kallela was painting realistic landscapes (Imatra in Winter, 1893, Ateneum), portraits (of M. Gorky, 1906, Ateneum), and illustrations (for the novel Seven Brothers by A. Kivi, 1906-07); in the 1920’s he painted a series of pictures on East African subjects.


Bezrukova, M. “Aksel’ Gallen-Kallela.” Isskustvo, 1965, no. 4.
Wennerström (Wennerwirta), L. Akseli Gallén-Kallela. Porvoo, 1914.
Okkonen O. A. Gallén-Kallela. Porvoo, 1949.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.