In late 1894, Akseli Gallen-Kallela went to Berlin to learn the basics of printmaking, which was enjoying a new vogue due to the popularity of Japanese woodcuts and the decorative Art Nouveau style. His trip was cut short when his daughter Marjatta died of diphteria in March 1895. The Flower of Death is a memorial to her. It was carved onto a disc of pine wood, soft and coarse-grained, yet the print is subtle and delicate. The attached poem is by the artist himself: "On the brink of a black pond a lovely pale flower grew, in my dream I picked it, yet from that dream I shall not wake - it was the pale flower of death..." Gallen-Kallela made several versions of this print, and it can be considered as the beginning of printmaking in Finnish art history.


  • Title: Flower of Death
  • Creator: Akseli Gallen-Kallela
  • Creator Lifespan: 1865/1931
  • Creator Nationality: Finnish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Stockholm
  • Creator Birth Place: Pori
  • Date Created: 1895
  • Physical Dimensions: w14.5 x h16.5 cm
  • Inventory number: C 178
  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 14.5 cm
  • Type: printmaking
  • Rights: Ateneum Art Museum, http://www.fng.fi/informationandresearch/photographicservice
  • Medium: Woodcut on paper

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