Vilho Lampi, 'Girl and cat'.
Sign. -32. Oil on board 61,5 x 55 cm.
Small dry crack. Wear due to age and use.
Vilho Lampi, Keravan Art Museum 14.11.1991-15.1.1992.
Retrospective Exhibition, Taidesalonki Husa, Tampere, 1959.
Retrospective Exhibition, Helsingin Taidetalo, 1980.
Suomen itsenäisyyden 75-vuotisjuhlanäyttely, Oulu Art Museum (31.1.-8.3.1992).
Vilho Lampi (1898-1936) was a talented artist whose creativity spanned several fields of art, but painting eventually became his preferred expression. Although his career was short, it was marked by intense periods of artistic development.
Lampi's talent was quickly recognised during his studies at the Drawing School of the Art Society. His unique painting style, which he refused to compromise on, impressed his artist colleagues and earned him scholarships. The influence of expressionism was still strong in the art world during Lampi's student years, and the work of Tyko Sallinen particularly inspired him. Lampi made his debut at the Finnish Artists' Exhibition in 1922.
After returning home to Liminka following his studies, Lampi painted as much as he could in between farm work. During this time, he found inspiration in the landscapes and people of Liminka, often using the children of relatives and acquaintances as models. Lampi's large, powerful paintings and rugged Ostrobothnian themes caused surprises in the capital's art scene, and he eventually found a more receptive audience for his art in northern Finland.
A turning point in Lampi's career was a study trip to Paris in 1931, leaving him disappointed in his own art. In the years following his Paris trip, Lampi painted a series of captivating portraits of children, in which his exuberant expressionism began to give way to a new naturalism. One of the works in this series was the painting "Girl and Cat," completed in 1932, which shares a similar style and colour palette with one of the artist's most interesting self-portraits from the same year.
In Lampi's final years, his work took on a darker, more oppressive atmosphere, which has since been thought to foreshadow the artist's mental breakdown. Sadly, in 1936, Lampi unexpectedly took his own life by drowning in the Merikoski rapids of the Oulu River. After his death, his work was showcased in memorial exhibitions, including those in 1950 and 1980, both featuring "Girl and Cat."