Finnish painter, Victor Westerholm, was one of Finland’s finest artists. He was famous for starting an artists’ colony at his summer residence, “Tomtebo”, in 1886, which was located on the archipelago of Åland. The members would gather there at the village of Önningeby, and today there remains a museum that was dedicated to the colony’s memory.
Westerholm was born on January 4, 1860, on the island of Nagu, in the Turku archipelago. His art education began with his initial training in Düsseldorf, where his teacher was Eugen Gustav Dücker, a landscape artist from Estonia. Following that, he studied in Paris in the Académie Julian as a pupil of Jules Joseph Lefebvre, who was a French academic and figure painter. He returned home to Turku and became the founder of the Turku Society of Art. The Society opened an art school called the Society of Art School, and naturally Westerholm took a position there as a professor of art. It was under his instigation that Turku opened its first museum, and he became its first curator and director in charge of accumulating fine works of art.
Painting realistic Finnish landscapes with winter scenes and sunsets were his forte, and he created over 800 paintings in his lifetime. He signed some of his paintings with a note next to his signature, such as “-37 degrees”, which described the outdoor winter temperatures that he had faced while painting “en plein air” in Finland. He lived near the Kymi River, as well as near the sea coast, so these were some of his favorite themes and were often primary in his landscapes. Some of his finest works include paintings such as: Summer Morning, Åland; Kukkivia Hedelmapuita (Flowering Fruit Tree); River Valley (1901); Koski (1902); and Midwinter Sun (1908).