Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fanny Churberg

Winter landscape with sunset
oil on canvas
26.0 x 40.5 cm
Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland

Fanny Churberg (1845-1892) was a Finnish painter and one of the great masters of her time. Her father was a doctor from a family of farmers and her mother was a daughter of a vicar. When she was twelve her mother died and she had to take on large parts of the responsibility of being the matron of the house. When she was 20 her father died. She cared for him day and night during the last months of his life.

She started her artistic training in Helsinki in 1865. Her studies continued in Dusseldorf, Germany. She was also one of the first Finnish painters to study in Paris, France. Although she remained to a large extent within the conventions of the Dusseldorf school of painting. She openly expressed her enthusiasm for the countryside and its dramatic situations, relying above all on colour and a fast brush technique to do so. The charged quality of her work differed sharply from that of her contemporaries, as did her subjects.

Her career ended suddenly in 1880. Her health was weaker and she took care of her brother who was suffering from tuberculosis. The death of her brother in 1882 made her quite lonely and her will to live lessened as did her energy. She did not paint anymore not even to her own amusement, but during her career she had still managed to paint over 300 paintings.