The End of an Ideal: Gallen-Kallela – an Artist on the Cusp of Modernism
26 November 2018
Our meeting in November attracted the largest audience of the year and our thanks go to Lyn Litchfield who provided the introduction to Adrian Biddell, formerly head of Sotheby’s 19th Century European Paintings department from 1999-2015. He gave a masterly and generously illustrated talk on the work of Akseli Gallen-Kallela putting it in the context of work by other European painters of his time including Sorolla, Mucha, Carl Larsson and Hammershøi. There were interesting comparisons of the houses which some of these artists built for themselves and large scale frescoes which had either been destroyed or, in the case of Mucha’s Slav Epic, never found a permanent home. He also contrasted Gallen-Kallela with Helene Schjerfbeck in terms of the number of works sold and the prices obtained which he attributed to the influence of Schjerfbeck’s dealer who guided her output as to what would sell.
Writing Fiction in Two Languages
18 October 2018
Although there are examples of a number of authors who are able to write in more than one language, few do quite what Emmi Itäranta does, which is to write her novels in Finnish and English at the same time. She described her method when she spoke at our meeting in October. The process is admittedly slow but she said that writing in each language highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the other language and this enables her to make revisions to the benefit of both versions of her books.
16 May 2018
In May Dr Kristina Ranki, Curator of the Mannerheim Museum in Helsinki, gave a talk entitled “Finnish Anglophilia – forms and examples”. She explained how she thinks this love of England differs from other cultural orientations and the role of travel in relation to the understanding and admiration of England.
25 April 2018
In April we held our AGM at the Finnish Church. Marjatta Bell resigned from the Council and stood down as Chair. She was replaced on an interim basis by Paulus Thomson and Paola Killinen was elected to the vacant office of Vice-Chair, also on an interim basis.
Following the formal business of the AGM Sir Paul Lever expanded on the review which he had written for the Journal of the Royal United Services Institute of Kimmo Rentola’s book Stalin ja Suomen kohtalo (Stalin and the Fate of Finland). Rentola examines why Stalin allowed Finland to sue for peace in March 1940 rather than pursuing the original plan of occupying the whole country up to the Swedish border and why ultimately Finland was allowed to retain its independence rather than suffering the same fate as the rest of eastern Europe.
Tour of Guildhall
20 February 2018
In February Ann Simberg Saunders arranged for members to have a guided tour of the Guildhall. We were shown around by a very informative professional guide.
16 January 2018
At our first meeting of the year, Ant O’Neill, cartoonist, translator and “Moomin historian” gave a talk entitled “Moominvalley Fossils” in which he spoke particularly about Tove Jansson’s early cartoons, some of which were published as early as 1929 when she was in her teens. Little of Jansson’s early work has been translated into English and Ant O’Neill is working on bringing the early stories and the last of her Moomin books to an anglophone audience.