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Impressive Stones
14.10.2011 - 15.01.2012



Impressive Stones presents prominent artists from Finland and abroad for whom lithography has been an important method for creating art. The exhibition highlights the use of lithography in both printmaking and poster art. For example, this is the first showing of French propaganda posters from the First World War that entered Ateneum's collections almost a hundred years ago. It is also the first time that such prints have been exhibited so extensively at Ateneum.

The Impressive Stones exhibition presents a wide and diverse selection of art created using the lithographic technique. Art prints from the collections of both Ateneum and Kiasma will be on display alongside book illustrations from the National Library of Finland. The exhibition illustrates the important dimensions of lithography: the use of this printing method in both photo journalism and the production of modern art masterpieces. Works by over 90 artists are presented, including such prominent international names as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Finnish artists included in the exhibition include Matti Visanti, Aukusti Tuhka, Juho Karjalainen and Kuutti Lavonen.

Chance played a big part in the discovery of lithography, and even the inventor did not think he had found a new and groundbreaking graphic art technique. Alois Senefelder (1771-1834) was a playwright from Munich who wanted to find an affordable way to print plays by himself. News of the invention spread rapidly, as the ease, speed and affordability of lithography attracted publishers. The number of lithographic printing shops grew rapidly in the early 1800s, and the technique was used especially for producing art prints, music, maps and posters.

The first lithographic printing shop in Finland was established in the 1830s by Fredrik Tengström, who produced the first lithographs describing Finland, including topographical prints of Helsinki. The Finnish pioneer of art lithographs was Akseli Gallen-Kallela, whose Bil-Bol car poster has since become a classic of Finnish poster art. Other Finnish artists who used the lithographic technique included Helene Schjerfbeck and Hugo Simberg, both of whom are represented in this exhibition.

The oldest item on display dates back to the 1810s, while the newest prints are contemporary. The range of European lithographs is complemented by the art of Robert Rauschenberg and Jim Dine. The Impressive Stones exhibition is curated by Heikki Malme, curator of the prints and drawings collection at Ateneum, and Erkki Anttonen, project manager.

Writings on the History of Lithography (PDF 2,15 MT)

The exhibition is connected with the Pro Litografia association's exhibition Drawn in Stone, which presents contemporary Finnish lithographers and their art at the Hanasaari Cultural Centre.

Perspectives on lithography

12 November at 13, 26 November at 13 / Ateneum Hall

In connection with the exhibition Impressive Stones, two presentations will be held discussing perspectives on lithography. Topics include Finnish school posters and maps, poster art, and lithography workshops.

Presentations of the technique

Printers from Helsinki Litho (Helsingin Kivipaino) will install their printing press on the ground floor of Ateneum and present the technique on seven Saturdays, as well as on Art for Us! student day on 23 November.

Sat 22.10. at 11.30-16.30
Sat 29.10. at 11.30-16.30
Sat 12.11. at 11.30-16.30
Sat 19.11. at 11.30-16.30
Wed 23.11. at 11.30-16.30
Sat 3.12. at 11.30-16.30
Sat 10.12. at 11.30-16.30
Sat17.12. at 11.30-16.30