Aleksi Käpy

Artist(s):Emil Rautala Date:1922 Medium:oil on canvas Dimensions:100 x 82 cm

In 1922, Emil Rautala donated to the new university a portrait of Aleksi Käpy (1871–1933), the first Chairperson of the Board and Central Committee of the Turku Finnish University Society (1917–1926) and President of the Turku Court of Appeal, which he had painted the same year. It was hung in a place of honour in the Rector’s office in the main building.

Käpy was also a member of the Finnish Party (“the Old Finns”) in the Parliament of 1907–1909, followed by years as a senator and a member of the Senate’s Judicial Division, until his appointment as President of the Court of Appeal in 1912. He was characterised by contemporaries as having a benevolent personality and an unpretentious bearing.

Painter Emil Rautala (1883–1948) had been a member of the Red Room artist group in Turku and continued to paint portraits of the University’s staff members and supporters even after his move to Helsinki in 1927. He exhibited his works mostly in Turku. Rautala studied both at the Turku Drawing School (1898–1900) and the University of Helsinki Art Room (1904–1905), where his teacher was Eero Järnefelt. He had also begun studies at the Helsinki Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society (1905–1906). During his studies, he sojourned in, for example, Munich (1907–1908) and Paris (1912–1913). Portrait painting was an essential part of his oeuvre, which is characterised by expressive use of the brush and a Post-Impressionist palette with strong shades of blue, green and purple.

Tutta Palin 2024

Bergh, Erik and Päivi Hovi, eds. Punainen huone – Röda rummet. Turku: Turku Art Museum, 1988.

Forsström, Johanna. “Käpy, Aleksi (1871–1933).” Kansallisbiografia online publication, 21 March 2005. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.