Nelimarkka always painted live models and real-life scenes. The rooms, objects and settings in his paintings are like freeze-frames, convincing in their realism, yet somehow arbitrary in content, though laden with deeper significance. Their hyper-realism is heightened by the cropping, the occasionally exaggerated symmetry, the juxtaposition of certain objects, and the contrasts between pale colour planes.
Figures in interiors were among Nelimarkka’s favourite subjects. His sitters were acquaintances such as Miss Kekäläinen, a former midwife and housekeeper of the Oulunkylä villa he shared with his poet friend Larin-Kyösti. The figures are often distanced from us, whether with their back turned, or otherwise lost in their own private world. The interiors are portrayed realistically, yet with psychological symbolism. The windows and doors are like portals to an exterior reality that lies beyond the inner world of the experiencing subject.
Image: Eero Nelimarkka: Doll on a Table, 1923 © Private Collection / Photo: Hanna Kukorelli