One of the best known works by Helene Schjerfbeck is this self-portrait on the cover of the book. Finished in 1915, the painting belongs to the Finnish National Gallery.


“In her sixties, Schjerfbeck liked to reminisce her earlier subjects, the ‘old’ paintings. She painted a new variation of them – sometimes from memory, sometimes from the original in front of her eyes, and sometimes with the help of a photograph. Completely new creations were born, with little left from the previous version. The younger versions sometimes seemed like drafts of the older ones. 

In her painting work, Helena Schjerfbeck became younger and younger, more modern, in the sense that she evolved along with the development of art. It is that youthfulness that fascinates us later viewers. Although the artist grew older, her art was young.”

Through My Travels I Found Myself
15 November 2019 – 26 January 2020
Ateneum Art Museum, Kaivokatu 2, Helsinki

The exhibition describes how Helene became Helene, and how a talented student grew into one of the most influential artists in the Finnish art history.

Quote translated from Lena Holger’s book originally published in Swedish under the title Helene Schjerfbeck: liv och konstnärskap. Finnish translation published by Otava in 1989.