- About Ateneum
Women played an important role in the development of the community, the design of the homes and the creation of the home spirit and lifestyle. All the wives were cultured, spoke several languages and had wide-ranging cultural interests. They had their own literature circle and shared a love for theatre. Saimi Järnefelt had worked in the Finnish Theatre before her marriage, while Maija Halonen and Aino Sibelius were accomplished pianists. Venny Soldan-Brofeldt painted for a living and had a special interest in children’s art education.
While founded on artwork, life in the artist community followed the pattern of any family with children. Responsibility for the domestic sphere was borne by the women: they looked after the children and oversaw housekeeping, although all of them also had servants. The artists’ income also had to be supplemented. Saimi Järnefelt and Maija Halonen translated books into Finnish from several languages, and the income from their translations was an important contribution to finances, particularly in Halosenniemi.