St. Jerome's vision in the desert (Pyhän Hieronymuksen näky erämaassa) sign Rocky Mountains MCMXXV. Feb 1. 1925
20x25 cm/33x38cm Oil on Canvas. (Does not include VAT, Margin Tax)
After completing his book projects in
Porvoo, Gallen-Kallela decides to
travel to the United States. A large collection of his most important
works had been sent to the Panama Pacific World Fair in San Francisco in
1915, and on account of the turmoil of World War I this collection had
been confiscated by the American authorities.
When the postwar pleas of
Finnish diplomats fell to deaf ears and the collection was not returned
its owner, Gallen-Kallela decided to take matters into his own hands.
arrives in the United States in December 1923 and retrieves his
that is put on display, in his honor, first at the Chicago Art Institute
and then at several other venues.
Regrettably, ten works have been sold
from the artist’s private collection without his authorization. The
present whereabouts of these works are unknown. (The Kalela Museum asks
that any information concerning these lost, unrightfully sold paintings
forwarded to the representatives of the museum.)
Instead of returning to Finland, Gallen-Kallela decides to settle down in
the United States for a few years. During this period he receives
multiple portrait and other commissions from various organizations as well
affluent industrialists. In the spring of 1924, the artist sets out to
explore rural America. He travels to El Paso and from there onwards to
New Mexico. Feeling homesick and lonely, Akseli asks his family to join
him. Mary and Kirsti arrive in Houston in October 1924 and, with father
at the wheel, drive to Taos, New Mexico, where Akseli has rented a house. They spend the winter amidst the majestic Rocky Mountains.
Gallen-Kallela meets D. H. Lawrence, paints several mountain landscapes
and portraits of Native American Indians, and also works on a fresh series
of illustrations for an illuminated Great-Kalevala (unlike the 1923
black-and-white edition, the new edition of the epic would be printed in
full color). While the Unites States was a land
of opportunity for Gallen-Kallela, he
could not rid himself of his homesickness for Finland. Thus, he turns
prospective offer for a senior
teaching position at the Cranbrook
Academy of Art (opens in 1932) and in the spring of 1926 returns to
Finland with his family. Gallen-Kallela’s role in the conception of the
Cranbrook Academy of Art appears to have been instrumental.
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