Greta Hällfors-Sipilä (1899–1974) and Sulho Sipilä (1895–1949) were two exceptionally open-minded artists in Finland in the 1910s. The radical trends in European art at the time disrupted the traditional representative form in visual arts and created a new kind of colour expression. Greta and Sulho were eager to take part in these experiments. Their shared life and art is a fascinating topic that raises many questions. The works convey the joy of life and, at the same time, loneliness and melancholy. The exhibition presents the art and life of the artist couple from the 1910s to the 1940s and consists of around 60 works from different collections.
The strong artistic personalities Greta and Sulho, whose nicknames were Tiva and Halle, studied at the Finnish Art Society’s Drawing School in the 1910s. The lively pair became an inseparable couple. The early modernism of both artists is related to the new art trends of their time, especially the Russian avant-garde. A number of works from the early years of their careers have been preserved, in which they boldly try out colours and new forms.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Sulho Sipilä and Greta Hällfors-Sipilä focused on things close at hand, what they saw and experienced in both their daily lives and celebrations. In their works, both artists depicted each other, their home or the surrounding city and its amusements. The exhibition has a special focus on captivating street views from Helsinki, not forgetting the city’s busy social life. The couple also painted a number of works depicting their summers in the archipelago in Uusimaa and in the countryside in Southwest Finland. Bathing huts and beach life recur especially in Greta’s paintings and sketchbooks. The sea was also important to Sulho, who even made another career for himself as a naval officer. In addition to visual arts, music and playing instruments were important to both artists and remained a part of their shared life through the decades.
The exhibition is produced in collaboration with HAM Helsinki Art Museum, and it has been curated by Riitta Ojanperä, PhD, who has also written the book Greta Hällfors-Sipilä and Sulho Sipilä accompanying the exhibition. The exhibition producer at Turku Art Museum is curator Mia Haltia.
NB! Due to the limited exhibition time of the paper-based works, some of the works will be changed during the exhibition.