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(b Pori, 26 Apr. 1865; d Stockholm, 7 Mar. 1931). Finnish painter, graphic artist, designer, and architect. A major figure in the Art Nouveau and Symbolist movements, Gallen-Kallela travelled widely and was well known outside Finland, particularly in Germany (he had a joint exhibition with Munch in Berlin in 1895 and exhibited with Die Brücke in Dresden in 1910). He was deeply patriotic (he volunteered to fight in the War of Independence against Russia in 1918, even though he was in his fifties) and he was inspired mainly by the landscape and folklore of his country, above all by the Finnish national epic Kalevala (‘Land of Heroes’). His early work was in the 19th-century naturalistic tradition, but in the 1890s he developed a flatter, more stylized manner, well suited to the depiction of heroic myth, with bold simplifications of form, strong outlines, and vivid—sometimes rather garish—colours.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)


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