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Who is Ellen Thesleff?

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By Gwylym Owen

Ellen Thesleff (October 5, 1869 – January 12, 1954) was an expressionist Finnish painter, regarded as one of the leading Finnish modernist painters.

Thesleff was born in Helsinki, the eldest daughter of five siblings and her daddy was an amateur painter. She took private lessons and then, in 1887, studied for two years at the Finnish Art Society Drawing School (now known as the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts) with Gunnar Berndtson. In 1891, Thesleff moved to Paris and enrolled into Académie Colarossi.

Thesleff spent whatever of her vigor in Finland, France, and Italy, visiting Italy first in 1894. In Finland, she had a family home at Murole, Ruovesi. She never married. Thesleff took part in many huge exhibitions in the 20th century, in particular, in 1949 her paintings were on display on a huge exhibition of Nordic art in Copenhagen and were praised by media.

At the coming on of her career, Thesleff worked upon symbolist paintings in the style similar to Eugène Carrière, though she insisted she was most influenced by Édouard Manet. Later, she moved to expressionism and modernism, most notably landscapes.

Thesleff was included in the 2018 exhibit Women in Paris 1850-1900.

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