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Adolf Bock: Jägers Arriving in Vaasa, 1938


One of the paintings on deposit in the Presidential Palace is Jägers Arriving in Vaasa by the German marine painter Adolf Bock. It depicts a historically momentous event, the occasion on 25 February 1918 when Jägers, infantrymen who supported Finnish independence, returned home from training in Germany. The bulk of the troops, some 950 men, disembarked from two ships outside the town of Vaasa, most of them to fight alongside the Whites in the Civil War that broke out on 27 January 1918.

Bock’s painting shows both vessels, the ice-breaker Sampo and the steamer Arcturus which followed it. The painting was made 20 years after the actual event, however, and it is not an accurate portrayal. The ships were in full dress, with flags bearing the Finnish lion flying at the top of the Sampo’s masts. In Bock’s documentary painting the flags are missing.

Adolf Bock himself came to Finland in summer 1918 and lived here for about 20 years. He became a notable naval painter, in addition to which he also painted civilian vessels, in particular the ships of the ship owner John Nurminen. Shortly before World War II, Bock returned to Germany to document the country’s naval fleet.