Eero Järnefelt

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Eero Järnefelt, Burning the Brushwood, 1893. Finnish National Gallery

Eero Erik Nikolai Järnefelt (8 November 1863 – 15 November 1937) was a Finnish realist painter.


Eero Erik Nikolai Järnefelt was born on 8 November 1863 in Viipuri, Finland, the son of August Aleksander Järnefelt, a general in the Russian army, and Elisabeth Järnefelt (née Clodt von Jürgensburg). His sisters and brothers were Kasper, Arvid, Aino Ellida, Ellen, Armas, Hilja and Sigrid. He studied at the St. Petersburg Art Academy between 1883 and 1885 - the school at which Albert Edelfelt had studied. In 1886 he went to study in Paris, where he became friends with Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Emil Wikström and Louis Sparre, and was inspired by the plein-air and naturalistic paintings of Jules Bastien-Lepage.

On a trip to Keuruu in 1889, he met actress Saimi Swan. They were married in 1890. In 1892 his sister Aino Jarnefelt married the composer, Jean Sibelius.

Jarnefelt's best known painting is probably The Wage Slaves (Raatajat rahanalaiset or Kaski, from 1893, External link), depicting slash-and-burn agriculture.

Eero Järnefelt was especially inspired by nature in the Koli area, nowadays Koli National Park. Together with Alfred William Finch and Ilmari Aalto, he painted a large scene of Koli in 1911. It can be seen in the restaurant of Helsinki railway station.

Järnefelt died in Helsinki on 15 November 1937.

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