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First etching exhibition

 

The first exhibition of Finnish graphic art was held in spring 1907 in Helsinki. This “etching exhibition” featured works by the late Albert Edelfelt, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Hugo Simberg, Magnus Enckell, Hilda Flodin, Eero Järnefelt and A. W. Finch, who had introduced the techniques of soft-ground etching and colour printing to his fellow Finnish artists.

Altogether 160 prints were displayed, most of them created using the soft-ground technique. Järnefelt’s prints suggest that the new technique introduced by Finch had genuinely sparked his interest in the graphic arts, as all twelve works were created in the space of one year. The exhibition was the first concrete demonstration of the growing popularity of the graphic arts in Finland, and its popularity among visitors inspired the artists to continue their work.

At the same time the exhibition demonstrated how much Finland had caught up with the quality of prints produced elsewhere in Europe. Indeed, a striking proportion of the prints were produced using etching in colour, which was still a relatively new technique in Europe at the time. The coloured soft-ground etchings made by Finch, Simberg, Enckell and Järnefelt in particular attracted attention.