Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931) was born Axel Valdemar Gallen, April 26, 1865 in Pori, Finland. At age 13, he started to study at the Finnish Art Association under Carl Jahn. He also was taught by Fredrik Ahlstedt and Adolf von Becker, and Albert Edelfelt. He is considered the Grand Master of Finnish Design.

In 1884, he went to Paris for the first time, where he studied at the Academie Julian. He was good friends with the Swedish-Italian artist Louis Sparre. On May 20, 1890 he married Mary Slöör.

He exposed in the Finnish Pavilion at the Paris World Fair in 1900, after which he became a widely famous designer in Finland. He made paintings, sculptures and frescoes in addition to the industrial art of posters, flags, and logos. He created stained glass, illustrations, badges, uniforms and medals.

His most famed series was the Kalevala, and within the series, his most dramatic work was Lemminkäinen's Mother, painted in 1897.

He designed both of his studio-homes; one residence was built in the countryside at Ruovesi in 1895, and was made of logs. His other residence at Tarvaspää was built in 1913 in the form of a castle.

In 1909 and 1910, he travelled in Mombasa, Nairobi, Kenya and Egypt. In 1918, C.G.Mannerheim, the commander-in-chief of the White Army, took Gallen-Kallela in as chief of the map office and the painting office.

Kalevala series:
Aino Myth (1891)
The Forging of the Sampo (1893)
The Defence of the Sampo (1896)
Lemminkäinen's Mother (1897)
Kullervo's Curse (1899)
Lemminkäinen (1899)
Kullervo Departs for the War

He died of pneumonia March 7, 1931. For his funeral, Jean Sibelius composed Surusoitto.

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