Woman on the Beach

Artist(s):Edwin Lydén Date:1910 Medium:oil on canvas Dimensions:42 x 53 cm

The figure in Edwin Lydén’s Woman on the Beach (1910) is most likely Elin Dagmar Anerio (1875–1939), a pianist and singing teacher also known as Elli, whom the artist married in 1911. The couple had met at the Soininen manor house on the outskirts of Naantali while spending the summer there. Stylistically, the work adheres to Post-Impressionism and is assumed to originate from the summer of 1910, when Elli Anerio accompanied a group of Red Room artists to lake Koverojärvi in Ruovesi. The first time Lydén participated in a painting trip to the lake was in 1907. Woman on the Beach was presumably painted in Ruovesi, possibly at the Haukanhieta sandy beach of lake Haukkajärvi near Koverojärvi. The female figure wearing the same light-coloured summer dress and veil in Tyttö järven rannalla (“Girl by the Lake,” 1910, private collection) has been identified as Elli Anerio. Despite the barren nature conveyed by the dry wood, the composition is reminiscent of the beach promenade motifs painted by artists in the artists’ colony in Skagen, Denmark, in the 1890s.

For a long time, the work belonged to Kaarlo Marjanen (1899–1984), a reciter and aphorist who was part of Koskenniemi’s inner circle, along with several other works by Lydén and other modernists in Turku that are now part of the University’s art collection. Marjanen would occasionally participate in discussions on culture at Café Manninen. He taught elocution at the University of Turku in 1928–1932, before he moved to the capital.

Edwin Lydén (1879–1956) studied at the Turku Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society in 1894–1899 and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, in 1899–1906. Lydén was a painter, drawer, illustrator and political caricaturist, and also experimented with graphic art. Open-minded and experimental, he tried out a wide range of styles, from Symbolism and Expressionism to abstraction. Lydén was a central figure in the first generation of the so-called Turku Modernists.

Tutta Palin 2024

Aarras, Raimo. Edwin Lydén. Ed. Aimo Reitala. Taidehistoriallisia tutkimuksia – Konsthistoriska studier 5. Helsinki: Society for Art History in Finland, 1980.

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