Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck gets first UK survey at Royal Academy of Art

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Helene Schjerfbeck, "Self-portrait" (1895)

"Helene Schjerfbeck" will open on July 20 at the Royal Academy of Arts, in London.

Although one of the most celebrated artists in Finland, Schjerfbeck reminas little known in the UK.

The retrospective traces the practice of the Finnish painter, from her realist works inspired by French Salon painters of the 1880s to her later modernist pieces.

It features some 65 portraits, landscapes and still lifes painted throughout her prolific career. Schjerfbeck, whose artistic life began aged four, has made more than a thousand paintings in her lifetime.

The survey, which is organized in five sections, opens on her early works, among which is found her acclaimed "The Convalescent," which was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1888.

At that time, Schjerfbeck's work was greatly influenced by the naturalistic painting of Jules Bastien-Lepage.

Her style evolved into a more modernist approach in the first decade of the 20th century, when she moved to the rural Finnish town of Hyvinkää with her mother.

This shift in her practice is documented in the second section of the exhibition, entitled "Moments of Silence," where Schjerfbeck's large-scale portraits of her mother are displayed.

Among the 65 works in the show are 17 self-portraits painted throughout her life, from the age of 22 to 83, displayed in a central room devoted just to them.

These artworks reveal Schjerfbeck's fascination with aging and the physical deterioration of the self, as seen in "Self-portrait in Black and Pink."

Other highlights include portraits of her friend and first biographer Einar Reuter, as well as Schjerfbeck's still lifes that conclude the survey.

"Helene Schjerfbeck" will run from July 20 through October 27 at London's Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition will then travel to the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland, in November.

Tickets and additional information can be found on the museum's website.