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Elin Kleopatra Danielson-Gambogi (Finnish painter) 1861 - 1919

Elin Danielson-Gambogi belonged to the first large generation of Finnish women artists who had received professional education in art. Having studied together in Helsinki at the Art School of the Finnish Art Society, these artists are often collectively referred to in Finnish art history as the "painter sisters' generation". Besides Danielson-Gambogi, the group also included Anna Sahlstén, Helene Schjerfbeck and Maria Wiik. In addition to the breakthrough of French Realism, the 1880s in Finnish art were marked by the fact that a great number of major women artists began their career at that time. Professional art education became possible for women in Finland when the Art School of the Finnish Art Society in Helsinki was established in 1848. The Art School in Turku began admitting women as students in 1852, when the Turku Art Society was given control over the school. However, only a rather small percentage of the women who had received training in art carved a career for themselves as artists in the late 1880s. Although professional education was now available also for women, they had to face discrimination and derision because of the assumed weaknesses of their sex. The concept of women working independently in a profession, which meant working outside the home, was regarded with suspicion and not in keeping with women's "nature". While art as a hobby was encouraged as being suitable training for the duties of a housewife, earning a living by making art was something that was reserved exclusively for men. As was the custom, Elin Danielson-Gambogi too travelled abroad after finishing her studies at home. She went first to France and later to Italy, where she settled permanently. Living abroad and the company of other like-minded artists helped Danielson-Gambogi to break away from the conventional, petit-bourgeois lifestyle she despised. Liberated from the traditional woman's role, she can be considered the first Finnish female bohemian artist. Most women artists in the 19th century remained unmarried. Those who did marry lived for their family and home, which in practice meant abandoning their artistic career. In this respect too Elin Danielson-Gambogi differed from other women artists of the time. She married comparatively late, at the age of 36, and was 13 years older than her husband, Raffaello Gambogi. Danielson-Gambogi continued painting after she married, which may in part have been due to the fact that couple had no children. By the end of the 1880s, Elin Danielson-Gambogi had earned herself a prominent status in Finnish art circles, which was exceptional for artists of her gender. She was regarded as a kind of female Akseli Gallen-Kallela; "the fluency and sureness of her brush is at times astonishing to have come from a woman's hand," praised the Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper. She received accolades also from other quarters. As an artist, Elin Danielson-Gambogi received praise, but as a teacher even she was unable to avoid conflict. Disagreements with the administration of the Finnish Art Society's School and her determination to concentrate on her own artistic work may have contributed to the fact that leaving Finland once more started to seem a tempting option for her. Paris was beginning to lose its popularity among artists; now the place to go to was Italy. Danielson-Gambogi visited Italy for the first time in 1895 with a stipend she had received. By the following year Italy had already become her second homeland. Many female artists working in the late 19th and early 20th century sought to use their work to broaden the narrow and one-sided view of women of the time – some subtly, others more directly and visibly. The concept of a "new, modern woman" is an essential element in the life and work of Elin Danielson-Gambogi. She not only represented this new type of woman herself, she also portrayed others like her. Elin Danielson-Gambogi died of pneumonia in Antagnano and was buried in Livorno. * * * Raffaello Gambogi (Italian painter) 1874 – 1943 Raffaello Gambogi was an Italian painter, belonging to the group of post-Macchiaioli. In 1892 he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and came into contact with Giovanni Fattori. The artistic personality that influences him most, however, was Angiolo Tommasi and when in 1894 he created probably produced his best known ( Emigrants ) is the clear imprint and the teaching of that painter. However, it was another meeting to change his life, the one with Elin Danielson, Finnish painter of talent, who in 1898 became his wife. They settled at Torre del Lago, giving rise to a very fruitful artistic collaboration. Gambogi became part of the Boheme Club, a sort of cultural-association goliardica that flanked the artistic work of Giacomo Puccini. In those years he was in the company of brothers Tommasi (Angiolo and Ludovico), of Francesco Fanelli and Ferruccio Pagni. This was the best time for painting Gambogi that, thanks to the advice of his wife, oriented his compositions on a new balance between shapes and light, creating an atmosphere of austerity so-called "Nordic". With the end of the century Gambogi moved to Livorno, in the district of Antignano , and here began his early health problems. A trip to Finland blew nervous disease that the painter was perhaps brooding. In 1904 to settle in Volterra to be cured by some specialists in the local hospital. Will never recover, although artistically speaking you noticed the little setbacks caused by this neurosis. His health deteriorated to the death of his wife, Elin, which took place in Antignano in 1919. He spent his last years of life in substantial isolation that is not influenced positively on his painting. 

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