Aino Kajanus Playing the Harp

Artist(s):Eemil Halonen Date:1913 Medium:plaster Dimensions:144 x 184 cm

Sculptor Eemil Halonen donated his large plaster relief (1913) to the Finnish University of Turku, among the first artist donors in 1922. The sculpture of harpist Aino Kajanus (later Mangström, 1888–1951) was created during the two years (1913–1915) Kajanus was married to poet Eino Leino. Halonen had met Leino in Visavuori in the mid-1890s, when he was Emil Wikström’s apprentice. The Halonen Museum Foundation in Lapinlahti holds a pinewood version of the relief. The culturally influential Kajanus family’s Fennoman opinions likely had an impact on the choice of the donation. Music is also traditionally part of the academic culture.

Aino Kajanus was the first concert harpist in Finland; the harp was a new solo instrument in the Finnish music culture of the 1910s. Aino’s sister Lilly Kajanus also played the harp, as did her half-sister Elvi Kajanus (later Sjöstedt). Lilly and Aino Kajanus were the most distinguished harpists in Finland until the 1920s. From 1905, Aino Kajanus studied in St. Petersburg and Leipzig, gave recitals and played the first harp in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Helsinki City Orchestra – both of which were conducted by her father, Robert Kajanus. After marrying Alarik Mangström, Master of Laws, in 1917, she gradually gave up her career and after 1924 dedicated her time to her family.

Eemil Halonen (1875–1950) was a member of a Finnish-speaking Fennoman family of artists from the Savo region. Having been taught by Emil Wikström, he continued his studies at the Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society in Helsinki in 1896–1898. He is best known for his early wooden sculptures of Finnish folk types, but his oeuvre also includes works on Kalevala themes, portraits, memorial statues and funerary memorials, and he also worked in granite and bronze.

Tutta Palin 2024

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Consistory meeting minutes, 15 November 1922.

Kettunen, Minna. Suomalaisuutta veistämässä. Eemil Halonen, nuoren kansan kuvaseppä. Helsinki: Tammi, 2019.

“60-åringar.” Åbo Underrättelser, 14 May 1948.