Helene Schjerfbeck
Girl from California


Mixed media on paper.

42,7 cm x 36,5 cm.

The model for Girl from California (1934) by Helene Schjerfbeck (1862–1946) was 23-year-old Ulla Baarman, a relative of the artist. Ulla had strong features due to her heritage, but still preserved the innocence of youth; it was this juxtaposition of strength and sensitivity that attracted Schjerfbeck. The work represents a culmination of the artist’s colourism, in which the chosen colour tones merge together with strong lines. Ulla was among Schjerfbeck’s favourite models, and Girl from California is often considered one of the artist’s finest female portraits.