Monday hero: Helene Schjerfbeck

Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) was a Finnish painter, who regularly painted selfportraits up to a very old age. The portrait above on the right is one of the last ones, from 1944.

She painted landscapes and still lifes beside portraits, but it is these portraits that I find especially beautiful and moving.

Small children, willowy adolescent girls and old people, they are all painted with great empathy.

I saw an exhibition of her work in the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague in 2007. I didn't know her work before then.