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Ateneum opens the new exhibition season with a Swedish classic


Ateneum Art Museum's new exhibition Carl Larsson - In Search of the Good Life presents the Swedish ideal of the home at its brightest. In addition to Larsson's depictions of warm homes and family life, many of his lesser known early works are on display. The exhibition also presents Carl Larsson and his wife Karin as designers of furniture and art handicrafts.

Carl Larsson (1853-1919) wanted his audience to have a clear understanding of what his art was about. He also wanted to change the prevailing perceptions of his time, and he was indeed successful: the visual world created by the artist had an enormous effect on people's images of what constitutes a good life. The artistic output of Carl Larsson and his wife Karin (1859-1928) helped promote the Swedish home ideal and Scandinavian interior design.

Ateneum's new exhibition presents Larsson and his loved ones from different perspectives. Although the emphasis is on the depictions of a good and happy life, dissenting opinions are also presented, allowing viewers to ponder how the idyllic images and selected quotes from Larsson address them on a personal level. Can happiness be built, or is it in any case just a façade, "a continuously smiling face that conceals the real life behind it," as Larsson himself said.

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with the Turku Art Museum, which highlighted the art of Carl Larsson during Turku's year as European Capital of Culture in 2011. The cooperation between Ateneum and Turku Art Museum also has historic roots going back almost a hundred years: in 1913 both museums presented an exhibition of Carl Larsson, from which works of art were purchased for the collections of both museums. Required Reading (c. 1900), The Bridesmaid (1908) and Portrait of Architect Jac. Ahrenberg (1898), which were acquired by Ateneum at the time, are also on display in the new exhibition. Additional works are on loan from the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, the art museums of Gothenburg and Malmö, several private collections and from the artist's home museum Carl Larsson-gården.

The curator of the exhibition is Timo Huusko from Ateneum, and the exhibition architecture is by Minna Santakari.

In addition to the exhibition Carl Larsson - In Search of the Good Life, two complementary exhibitions also explore the themes of home and family. Photographer Elina Brotherus and psychologists Maiju Tokola and Riikka Toivanen take a peek at the everyday lives of contemporary Finnish families under the heading "Family Picture". The artist Alexander Reichstein in turn invites the young and young at heart to step into the Larssons' home in his installation "At Home", where small watercolours have grown into the size of a room. It is possible to look through the windows and doors and enter the world of Carl Larsson a hundred years ago.

Ateneum Art Museum Kaivokatu 2, 00100 Helsinki
Open: Tue & Fri 10am-6pm; Wed & Thu 10am-8pm; Sat & Sun 11am-5pm, Mon closed
Tickets: €12/10, free admission for visitors under the age of 18
Tickets in advance: Lippupalvelu outlets and online shop, www.lippupalvelu.fi
Further information: Marja Istala Kumpunen, Communications Manager, tel. +358 (0)50 555 3551, mik@ateneum.fi

Ateneum's main partners are Helsingin Sanomat, HOK-Elanto and KPMG.
The main partner for the Carl Larsson exhibition is IKEA.