HELSINKI, FINLAND.- Kunsthalle Helsinki presents Tapani Raittila, on view through March 30, 2008. The artist Tapani Raittila (b. 1921) is one of the greatest influences in Finnish modernism. The exhibition in the Kunsthalle presents work by Raittila in thematic wholes that cover his entire career of over 60 years. The pictures include fine early portraits and landscapes, keenly observed laconic drawings and commissioned portraits of writers, presidents and other luminaries. Apart from paintings, the show includes a great number of drawings and watercolours. Many rarely seen works have also been given on loan from private collections.
Raittila's output is characterised by certain recurring key subjects, such as self-portraits and the sea view visible from the window of his studio in Katajanokka, Helsinki. Raittila is often inspired to paint intimate, commonplace views of children or women of the family at their ordinary activities. Along with such works, Raittila has also extensively painted classical motifs, from still lifes to bathers. He is best known as a portraitist with a natural talent for expressing the character of his subject in a restrained way. Raittila is also a skilful draughtsman whose expressive portraits are based on a style that emphasises outlines.
Kunsthalle Helsinki has been an important venue for Raittila from the start: his career began at the Young Artists' Exhibition in the Kunsthalle in 1945. It was exactly 60 years ago, in 1948 in the Kunsthalle, that Raittila received first prize in the Young Artists' Exhibition awarded by the Fine Arts Association of Finland. Over the years, Raittila's work has been presented extensively in exhibitions both in Finland and abroad. However, this is the first thematically organised show of such magnitude.
The exhibition was assembled by the Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, together with the artist. After Tampere, the show was mounted in Rovaniemi and Joensuu. Consisting of about 200 works, the exhibition is produced by the Finnish Art Society.
The exhibition is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue edited by the Sara Hildén Art Museum. The catalogue has essays by Ville Lukkarinen, Professor of Art History, Rakel Kallio, art historian, Riitta Valorinta, Director of the Sara Hildén Art Museum, and Hannu Raittila, writer and son of Tapani Raittila. The book is bilingual (Finnish and English) and is priced at 20.