Helena Scherfbek (1862 - 1946) is a Finnish national icon, little known outside of its native country.Retrospective at the Royal Academy in London, he demonstrates to viewers 65 of the more than a thousand paintings she has written in her entire life.
She began in the style of French naturalists, before becoming one of the first modernists. According to the co-curator of the show, Anne-Maria von Bonsdorf, Scherfbek is sometimes called “Finnish Munch,” although she “has her own personality and is not as dramatic as her Norwegian counterpart.” The “intimacy and interior design” of her works unites them, rather, with the melancholic grace of the paintings by the Danish artist Wilhelm Hammershøy.
Portraits, landscapes and still lifes traces the evolution of her remarkable career. The main exhibits were self-portraits, a series of which demonstrates the lifelong fascination with Scherfbek's physical and psychological aging process. In the era of selfies, her fascination with masks and masquerades — the look that we present to the world, and what lies behind it — is more relevant than ever.