Moonlit trees,


REIDAR SÄRESTÖNIEMI (1925–1981): Moonlit trees, 1968, oil, 132 x 132 cm

Reidar Särestöniemi’s best-known works are large and colourful paintings inspired by the northern nature. In his works the artist interprets Lapland during different seasons, reindeer, lynx and birds that habit the tundra through a personal sense of colour. The artist did not try to depict what he saw as was but compared his artistic process to writing poems. Särestöniemi worked with paint and colour in a strongly material oriented way. To achieve the desired result, he applied multiple layers of colour and worked the paint into a relief-like surface.

Särestöniemi, who studied in the Finnish Art Academy School in Helsinki and furthered his studies abroad, was widely popular during his lifetime. The contemporary critique often mentioned his primitive and shamanistic style but Särestöniemi’s art is also closely connected with western modernism, especially expressionism.

Särestöniemi and the founders of the Didrichsenin Art Museum Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen shared an interest in Lapland and the visual arts. The Didrichsens visited the artist in Särestö, Kittilä for the first time in the late 1960s. The visit led to a friendship that lasted until the death of the artist. The connection with the Didrichsen Art Museum was an important support for Särestöniemi, and in the 1970s alone four exhibitions by the artist we’re held in the museum.

The Moonlit trees, acquired in 1968, was the first painting the Didrichsens bought from the artist. In total there are circa twenty works by Särestöniemi in the collection. The painted landscape is glowing with strong blues and reds typical to Särestöniemi. Above the landscape shines a crescent, a motif often seen in his paintings.



Passing moment by Juhani Linnovaara illustrates the composition of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), Das wohltemperierte Klavier 1: prelude and fuga no 10, es-major. The music is played by Susanne Kujala with a Bach-Lehman concert harmonica. The recording is made in 2021.


Filming and editing by Kalle Vainio. The video is produced in collaboration with the Didrichsen Art Museum.