Summer Day

Artist(s):Ragnar Ungern Date:undated Medium:oil on board Dimensions:27.5 x 20.5 cm

Known as one of the Red Room artists and, as critic Antero Rinne put it, “an archetype of Turku,” Ragnar Ungern was among the first artists who donated their works to the Finnish University of Turku in 1922. This donation is presumably Summer Day, an undated, almost abstract small landscape. Ungern used a low horizon and the combination of a sail and the sky in several of his works. Owing to the influence of Impressionism, even sketch-like paintings were starting to be appreciated and framed as works of their own value, although this was rarely the case with Ungern. Summer Day is assumably one of his early Impressionistic experiments. Overall, the artist preferred small formats.

Having grown up in Tammisaari and Tampere, Ragnar Ungern (1885–1955) came to the Turku Drawing School in 1904 and graduated from there in 1906. He spent the spring term 1907 in Munich. After his journey to Munich and Italy in 1914, the artist’s approach became slightly more structural and his use of colour more moderate, as exemplified by the painting Boatbuilders (1921) in the University of Turku art collection. In 1919–1923, Ungern worked as a temporary Curator (Intendant) for Turku Art Society, in 1910–1917 as a teacher in the Drawing School and after that as its headmaster until 1945. Most of Ungern’s works are landscapes and interiors.

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.

Rinne, Antero. “Turkulaisia taiteilijoita. V. Ragnar Ungern.” Uusi Aura, 12 February 1928.