Albert Edelfelt
The Boys’ Workhouse, Helsinki


Oil on canvas.

45,0 cm x 55,0 cm.

The Boys’ Workhouse, Helsinki (1885) by Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905) depicts seven young boys engrossed in sewing. Edelfelt painted it at a workhouse for poverty-stricken children on Tarkk’ampujankatu in Helsinki. The subject is unusual for the artist, who very engaged in social discussions in his art. Depictions of urban poverty, particularly, were rare – not only for Edelfelt but for Finnish art of the time in general. Additionally, The Boys’ Workhouse, Helsinki is a masterful study in backlit subjects, just as skilful as Edelfelt’s more famous paintings of boys at play.