Herring Gutters

Artist(s):Santeri Salokivi Date:1921 Medium:oil on canvas Dimensions:44 x 52.5 cm

Santeri Salokivi’s Herring Gutters (1921) can be assumed to be among the first artworks promised for the new Finnish University of Turku in 1922, although it was not exhibited until the summer of 1923. The painting had been on display at the artist’s private exhibition at Salon Strindberg in Helsinki in spring 1922 (no. 33) but, apparently, it had remained unsold. The theme originates from Parainen and is linked to the marine livelihoods in the Turku region, which made it a fitting donation to the University. Another artist from the Red Room group, Ragnar Ungern, also painted coastal and archipelago motifs, but Salokivi excelled in depicting light, the bright light of summer days, in particular. In the case of Herring Gutters, the execution of the large painting may look suprisingly sketch-like, but this is also an effect created by the strong sunlight blurring the shapes.

Born in Turku, Santeri Salokivi (1886–1940) was a member of the Red Room artist group. He moved to Helsinki in 1921, the year Herring Gutters was completed. He studied at the Turku Drawing School in 1900–1904, at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, in 1905–1906 and in 1908–1909, and in Paris for several shorter periods. In his works, he followed the Impressionist interest in the effects of light, using the broader brushstrokes typical of the 20th century. However, he was not particularly interested in modernist experimentation.

Tutta Palin 2024

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

Consistory meeting minutes, 15 November 1922.

Jäntere, Kaarlo. Turun yliopiston perustaminen. Helsinki: Oy. Suomen kirja, 1942.

“Konstutställningen.” Åland, 21 July 1923.

Santeri Salokivi. Salon Strindberg 1922. Helsinki: Salon Strindberg, 1922.