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Finnish modern artist Carolus Enckell dead at age 72

The Finnish painter Carolus Enckell has died after a long illness on Monday, September 25, at the age of 72. Enckell is considered one of the most significant Finnish modern artists of his generation, according to a press release issued by Galerie Forsblom in Helsinki, which has represented the artist since 2008.

Carolus Enckell
Finnish painter Carolus Enckell. Image: Jukka Uotila / AOP

Carolus Enckell was born into a family of artists on May 25, 1945. He studied at Helsinki's Free Art School between the years of 1966 to 1969, under the tutelage of Finnish painters Unto Pusa and Tor Arne. In 1970 Carolus began teaching at the school himself, later becoming the school's rector.

Enckell received many awards for his work as an artist. In 1990 he was named as Helsinki Festival's artist of the year and was the recipient of the Carnegie Art Award in 2001. In 2009 Enckell was awarded the Pro Finlandia medal.

In the early 1970s, Enckell began a series of independent and collaborative exhibits in Finland and abroad. A major retrospective of his life's work was exhibited at the Sara Hildén Art Museum in Tampere in 2016.

His most recent Galerie Forsblom exhibit was in April of this year.

Carolus Enckellin kaksi eri teosta.
Finnish modern artist Carolus Enckell's two works Quarzazate 1975 (on left) and Quarzazate 1975-1979. Image: Galerie Forsblom

That exhibit, called Eklektika, was an "homage to tradition," according to the gallery, and featured installations and gouache paintings which interpreted colour theory and the artist's fascination with geometry and philosophy.

Apart from his paintings, Enckell is also known for his written essays.

Enckell described his approach to his austere, minimalist work as "pure experiential seeing," and that his work was not intended to be understood or deciphered, but rather it should be felt and experienced, according to the Forsblom gallery.

News of Enckell's death was first reported in the daily Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday.

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