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The Johannes Haapasalo sculpture collection

The Johannes Haapasalo sculpture collection

 

The sculptor Johannes Haapasalo was born in the parish of Rantakylä in Mikkeli on 23.9.1880. After matriculating from Mikkeli Lyceum in 1900, Haapasalo enrolled with the Faculty of Arts at Helsinki University, intending to read, e.g. Roman and Greek literature.
 

In 1902 Johannes Haapasalo began studying art in the art room of Helsinki University and the art school of the Finnish Art Association, at first on the painting line. His teacher Albert Gebhard sent him to study form on the sculpture line, where Haapasalo remained. Haapasalo continued his studies at the Academy of Art in Copenhagen in 1903-04 under the Norwegian sculptor Stephan Sinding (1846-1922). From Copenhagen Haapasalo went to Paris, staying there for over two years, during which he studied, e.g. painting and drawing at the Académie Colarossi. In the spring of 1906 Haapasalo became a pupil of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). This famous French sculptor's teaching was based on copying nature, which Haapasalo too considered the firmest foundation for all art.

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Reclining Girl, 1910
Photo: Timo Kilpeläinen

Johannes Haapasalo's creative life was very long, almost 60 years. His works were first exhibited in 1903. In addition to numerous exhibitions in Finland, Haapasalo participated in many exhibitions of Finnish art abroad, e.g. in Brussels (1912), Stockholm (1916), Budapest (1935), Milan and Rome (1937).

Haapasalo made many public sculptures and numerous war memorials, e.g. the war memorials in Punkalaidun, Kauhava, Ylivieska, Forssa and Mikkeli.

Haapasalo's output, which at first showed the influence of his teachers, contains numerous delicately sculpted works that are often lyrical in tone. Haapasalo began as a realist but later his style became more idealized, a classically toned idealism that was combined with a sculpturally vivid, harmonious treatment of form. After his artistic career, Johannes Haapasalo returned with his wife Ida to Mikkeli, where he spent the last years of his life. In 1963 he donated all of his works in his possession to the city of Mikkeli. He died in Mikkeli on 17.12.1965.
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Photo: Timo Kilpeläinen