Crème de la Crème
Masterpieces from the Collection of Turku Art Museum
14 Dec 2010 – 3 Feb 2013
Crème de la Crème presents masterpieces from the Golden Age of Finnish art (ca 1880–1910) in the collections of the Turku Art Museum. More than a hundred of the most famous and most cherished masterpieces will be presented in the upstairs galleries. The exhibition also invites the audience to consider the meaning of the term ‘masterpiece’, and how these masterpieces came about. Why is it precisely The Old Woman and the Cat, Defence of the Sampo and many other paintings that have become national treasures?

The exhibition examines the concept of masterpieces on a general level, but there are also stories about individual artists and their works. The topics and subject matter of masterpieces are explored across the genres of history painting, portraiture, landscape painting, as well as genre painting. The exhibition also sheds light on the role of museums as a contributing factor in the emergence of masterpieces and the related philosophy. Which artworks are accessioned to the collection, which ones are exhibited, which ones remain in storage? Which are the works that become the stars through which the collection becomes recognised? On the other hand, valuations, taste and norms change over time, some masterpieces are forgotten and replaced by others. Art history too is reinterpreted and rewritten, not least as regards the myth of the artist. The exhibition investigates the influence of artists on the interpretation and valuation of artworks through two different cases, the life and art of Akseli Gallen-Kallela and of Helene Schjerfbeck. The third artist occupying the limelight is Victor Westerholm who was not only a major influence in the development of landscape painting in Finland, but who also played a crucial part in the development of the collection.  As the first director of the Turku Art Museum, Westerholm played a decisive role in deciding which works of the Golden Age were accessioned into the collection and thus became “our pictures”.

Other artists alongside Gallen-Kallela, Schjerfbeck and Westerholm in the galaxy of masterpieces include Albert Edelfelt, Gunnar Berndtson, Fanny Churberg, Elin Danielson-Gambogi, Pekka Halonen, Eero Järnefelt and Hugo Simberg. Sculpture acquires an impressive showcase in the upstairs lobby, which has been restored to its original purpose as a glyptotheque.

Crème de la Crème will be openthroughout until 3 February 2013. The exhibition will also include an events programme. The public also had a chance to participate in the selection of favourite masterpieces in a vote.
Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2014