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Paris is the springboard for his international career but the link with his native land will remain indissoluble.
In particular with the village of Haikko where, in 1883, he built a house-workshop. He returned there every summer before settling there permanently in 1889. He remai- ned there until his death in 1905.
In this intimate refuge, he lives surrounded by his mother, his sisters, his wife and his old servant. He will tirelessly represent his dear family figures in his paintings.
Likewise, his works are full of this rural life, of his fellow sailors and peasants. It feeds on this force of Finnish nature populated by lakes and forests. He likes to reproduce this silent snow, these wooden houses and these ships in twilight. His pictorial uni- verse is imbued with a deep tenderness both for children and for his favorite model, Virginie. His brush is very soft as soon as it touches the feminine universe and the innocence of toddlers playing at the edge of the water.
A great Finnish patriot and traveler, Edelfelt was able to promote his country not only in the aesthetics of his paintings but also in his ardor in fighting to preserve Finland’s independence from Russian imperialism.
His political commitment, his unconditional love for country have always been crowned with this feminine grace and the delicacy of her lights. Vir- tuoso of color, Edelfelt marked with his sensitivity an era and a Finnish pictorial universe without borders.
The White Queen ©Finnish National Gallery - Hannu Aaltonen

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