PREVIEW: Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland, National Gallery

The National Gallery will display all four versions of Gallen-Kallela’s Lake Keitele in a new exhibition on display from the 15th November. 


Lake Keitele
Lake View, 1901, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Finnish National Gallery, Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland. © Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Kirsi Halkola. 

From the 15th November, visitors to the National Gallery can discover a selection of paintings by the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931) in the first exhibition in the UK devoted to this artist.

In this exhibition, the National Gallery will reunite all four versions of Gallen-Kallela’s Lake Keitele. Lake Keitele (1905) purchased by the National Gallery in 1999 and remains the only painting  by this artist in a British public collection, while two of the paintings are loans from private collections and one is on loan from the Lahti Art Museum/Viipuri Foundation, Finland.

The display examines looks closely at the genesis and meaning of this deceptively simple image: a view of a lake bathed in brilliant summer light, celebrating the unspoilt beauty of the Finnish countryside.

Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland is an opportunity for visitors a chance to explore the work of of Gallen-Kallela, one of Finland’s most prominent artists, whose career was inextricably linked to the history of his country. The exhibition will span thirty years of the artist’s career and will feature twelve of the artist’s work centred around the four versions of Lake Keitele.

Anne Robbins, Associate Curator of Post-1800 Paintings at the National Gallery and curator of the exhibition, explains: “With its silvery reflections, drenched in crystalline Nordic light, Lake Keitele is an immediately appealing work, and one which truly captivates the public, holding its own against the Gallery’s famous Monets and Van Goghs. We have long wanted to look further into this work, to decipher its many layers of meaning, and are thrilled to have been able to reunite the four versions in this focused exhibition. I hope it will be a revelation, introducing a highly distinctive artist whose life intersected with the history of Finland, and throwing light on a painting which has not ceased to enthral visitors.”

Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland will be on display at the National Gallery from the 15th November until the 4th February 2018. For more information visit:



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