Antiquarian Booksellers (The Bouqinistes)

Artist(s):Einari Wehmas Date:1930 Medium:oil on canvas Dimensions:61 x 73 cm

The contemporary name of Einari Wehmas’s painting was Antiquarian Booksellers, but today the painting is also known as The Bouqinistes. The new name is perhaps more fitting, since the painting depicts kiosks and sellers of secondhand books and prints on the banks of the River Seine in Paris. The artist did not mark the date on the work. In his memorial group at the 63rd annual exhibition of Finnish Artists at Kunsthalle Helsinki in 1957, the painting was dated to 1930.

Veija Marjanen (née Hytönen, 1903–1997), Master of Arts and member of Koskenniemi’s literary circle, donated the work (titled by herself The Bouqinistes) to the University of Turku on 7 December 1990. In the deed of donation, she looked back on the “happy student life of the 1920s”: “The motivation for this donation was my affection for Turku and the University of Turku. My husband and I belonged to the first generation of its students. Both of our parents had donated funds to the establishment of a university in their home region.” In 1928, the donor was married to reciter and aphorist Kaarlo Marjanen (1899–1984), who was likewise a member of Koskenniemi’s literary circle. In addition to The Bouqinistes, Veija Marjanen donated two sculptures by Wäinö Aaltonen to the University. Her husband had modelled for both of them (the bronze sculpture Head of Kaarlo Marjanen and a plaster sketch for the sculpture Intellectual Work).

Einari Wehmas (also Vehmas, 1898–1955) was born in Vesilahti and began his studies at the Drawing School of Turku Art Society in 1914. He lived and worked in Turku for thirty years, with the exception of the periods he spent in the metropolises of Continental Europe. He launched his career as an Expressionist but is better known for his New Objectivity-inspired urban landscapes that were one of the earliest examples of modern cityscapes in Finland. The artist was part of the Pro Arte group (1933–1938) and was regarded as one of the so-called Turku Modernists.

Tutta Palin 2024

Bergh, Erik and Päivi Hovi, eds. Sulho Sipilä, Einari Vehmas. Turku: Turku Art Museum, 1985.

Launis, Kati. Kynän kantama elämä. Kirjoittavat Hiiskun sisaret. Turku: Sigillum, 2017.

Marjanen, Veija. Deed of donation, Helsinki 7 December 1990. Lahjoituksia 1.8.1974–2003, X Hea:1, University of Turku Central Archives.

Valkonen, Olli. “Taiteilijain vuosinäyttely.” Suomen Sosialidemokraatti, 10 February 1957.