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Aune Lindström, 132.
For Fanny Churberg her Ostrobothnian roots were very
important. She is also known as an active Fennoman who was
inspired by J.L. Runeberg. Churberg studied drawing, first in
Viipuri, where she was taught by Augusta Soldan, and later
in Helsinki where she was the pupil of Alexandra Såltin and
Emma Gyldén. Fanny Churbergs was also taught by her good
friend Berndt Lindholm.
Together with Lindholm, Fanny Churberg travelled to Düsseldorf
where she intended to study landscape painting. At
this time Düsseldorf was an important art centre and the university
there was renowned. For Churberg, who was a great
admirer of the city and of German culture, Düsseldorf was a
natural choice. This choice had also been influenced by her
previous teachers who had studied Art there. Since female
students were not accepted at the Art Academy, Churberg
was taught privately by the German artist Carl Ludwig. In
1875 Fanny Churberg went to Paris where she stayed until the
following spring. Unlike the other Finnish women painters in
Paris Churberg did not attend any of the Art academies that
allowed women students. She chose to take private lessons
and was taught by the Swedish artist, Wilhelm von Gegerfeldt.
Fanny Churberg did however, not find Paris as inspiring as
Düsseldorf had been.
In 1880 Churberg abandoned painting and dedicated herself
to the “Friends of ‘Textile Art Association in Finland”, an Arts
and Crafts movement which she had co-founded in 1879 and
where she was an innovative force to be reckoned with. During
the 1880s Fanny Churberg led the association. She created
patterns, instructed seamstresses and dedicated herself to informative
activities. She also worked as an Art critic for the
newspapers Finland, Morgonbladet and Wasabladet. Fanny
Churberg was a source of inspiration for younger female artists
such as Helene Schjerfbeck who said of Fanny Churberg
that “she has a magician’s ability to create passion”.
IN THE FOREST (1878)
Beyond the high pines in the foreground one can catch a
glimpse of cliffs. This vista acts as a link between this painting
and two other works where Churberg has depicted granite
cliffs in southern Savo (Ateneum 1871 and the Ostrobothnian
museum 1874). The cliffs are possibly the same, but painted
from a different angle. In this painting the focus is also on the
pines and the birch tree in the foreground. The roots of the
trees are clearly visible in the sandy earth; the sand has probably
been washed away, into the ditch that runs between the
trees. Churberg enjoyed painting trees, and tree trunks and
roots are recurring themes in her production. In this painting
the tree trunks are highlighted by the clear daylight, that also
accentuates the sandy earth around the roots of the trees, in
the background the cliffs are discernible. Above the trees a
blue summer sky is visible.
Text Anne-Maria Pennonen