Albert Edelfelt‘s The Boys Workhouse, Helsinki leading Sotheby’s Sale of 19th Century European Paintings. Oil on canvas from 1885 comes to auction for the first time in almost thirty years, with an estimate of £350,000-£450,000 ($540,000-$700,000). This painting combines the influences of Edelfelt’s years in France with his innate love of his homeland – Finland.
Adrian Biddell, Head of Sotheby’s 19th Century European Paintings Department, comments: “We are delighted to be offering this evocative work by Albert Edelfelt, painted in 1885 at the height of the artist’s career when he had become recognised as Finland’s foremost painter. Such works very rarely come to the market, and the re-appearance of ‘The Boys’ Workhouse’ after almost three decades in a private collection marks an exciting opportunity for collectors of Edelfelt’s work.”
Edelfelt was one of the first Finnish artists to achieve international fame. He enjoyed considerable success in Paris and was one of the founders of the Realist art movement in Finland. He influenced several younger Finnish painters and helped fellow Finnish artists such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela to make their breakthrough in Paris. Among his students was Leon Bakst.
Sotheby’s auction will also include two landscapes by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Lake View in Autumn from 1905, estimated at £60,000-£80,000 ($93,000-$124,000) and Spring Sun at Konginkangas, estimated at £80,000-£120,000 ($124,000-$185,000) from 1906. Both show the Finnish landscape at different times of year, and are an expression of the artist’s strong feelings for his country.