|Pekka Halonen "In the Open Air" 1892 Location Unknown|
Halonen came from a farming family but one with a deeply artistic streak. His father loved to paint, and his mother was a talented composer. Halonen studied art in Helsinki, winning a scholarship to further his education abroad. He then studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and also studied for a time with Paul Gauguin before returning to Finland and immersing himself in Finnish subjects, its' people and countryside. In a 1932 interview Halonen said of his art,
"Searching for peace and harmony through my art has become part of my religion, so to speak. Nature is my inspiration. For over 30 years, I have lived in the same place, surrounded by woodlands. I often feel as if I have the whole Louvre and the world’s most precious art treasures right here on my doorstep. I need but step into the forest to see the most wonderful works of art ever created – and I ask for nothing else. My paintings are not ‘naturalistic’, even though I do my best to portray nature as faithfully as I can. Nature is the skeleton, but the flesh of the painting is its atmosphere – the mood is everything. Whether it comes from inside or outside me, I cannot tell. I don’t waste time thinking about problems – I just go out, and one fine day I might find what I am looking for, and then I simply must capture it on canvas.”"
Halonen was a major figure in Finnish art, and his work is included in a current exhibition entitled Nordic Art: 1880-1920, along with work by other Finnish artists Eero Järnefeldt, Helene Schjerfbeck and Akseli Gallen Kallela. This exhibit is at the Groninger Museum, in the Netherlands, and runs through May 5, 2013. Dutch friends, let me know what I've missed if you get to go! ;-)