News 26 Mar 2019

Sales records for Finnish art centre around a few artists

Altogether 48 times at least EUR 200,000 has been paid for a Finnish painting sold at a Finnish art auction. For seven paintings, EUR half a million or more was paid.

Schjerfbeck most expensive in Finland and abroad

The most expensive Finnish painting auctioned in Finland is Helene Schjerfbeck’s My Mother from 1909, for which EUR 874,600 was paid at Bukowski’s in 2001. In addition to this, two of Schjerfbeck’s paintings have risen to EUR half a million or over, Self Portrait in 2003 and Hjördis in 2002. Schjerfbeck’s paintings have sold for more than EUR 200,000 altogether 17 times.

At Sotheby’s art auction in London, the price of four of Schjerfbeck’s works has exceeded EUR one million. Dancing Shoes from 1882 was sold for close on EUR 3.9 million in 2008. It is still the most expensive Finnish painting ever sold at an auction. The most recent paintings to exceed EUR one million are The Red-Haired Girl II in 2016 and Girl with Blonde Hair in 2015. The fourth is Ballet Shoes from 1939, which was sold in 1990.

EUR half a million for Järnefelt, Edelfelt and Thesleff

In Finnish art auctions, the following works have reached at least EUR half a million: Eero Järnefelt’s Laundry at the River Bank in 2007, Albert Edelfelt’s Going to the Christening in 2017 and Boys Playing on the Shore in 2007 and Ellen Thesleff’s The Echo in 2003. During the past 30 years, the most expensive painting of the year auctioned in Finland has been an Edelfelt eleven times and a Schjerfbeck eight times.

At Sotheby’s, over EUR half a million has been paid for two of Edelfelt’s works, The Boy's Workhouse, Helsinki in 2013 and Under the Birches in 1987.

Cultural Statistics table service updated

These data derive from Statistics Finland’s Cultural Statistics table service, to which new updates have been added. The tables are updated four times a year, and reviews on the topics in the statistics are published in connection with these. The tables are in Finnish and English, and the reviews in Finnish.

Further information: Planning Officer Jukka Ekholm +358 29 551 3370, Senior Researcher Kaisa Weckström +358 29 551 2348,

Cultural statistics table service


7.5 The most expensive Finnish paintings sold at Finnish art auctions

7.6 The most expensive Finnish painting of the year sold at Finnish art auctions 1994–2018

7.7 The most expensive Finnish paintings and watercolours sold at Christie's and Sotheby's art auctions 2008–2018

Cultural statistics home page