Imatra by Gallen-Kallela

Imatra by Gallen-Kallela

Originally published 1893
Imatra by Gallen-Kallela

It was the year 1893. The roaring Imatra Rapids in eastern Finland represented the country’s primordial mother, its beauty, everything. New lighting systems that illuminated the rapids and a brand new hotel served to spread the message to the whole world.

But how do you do that?

By using the equivalent of the internet at that time – a placard, of course!

So the artist Axel Gallén (later Akseli Gallen-Kallela) stands by the rapids, drawing. Naturally, Gallén has captured the rapids, but unconventionally he has put the spotlight centre stage. In the background, the new hotel is visible, as is the Saima canal and the bridge that crosses the Vuoksi river. The pride and joys of Eastern Finland in a nutshell.

Finland’s first graphic travel poster had been born!

In 1896, the Finnish poet Larin Kyösti (aka Carl-Gustaf Larsson) hiked to the rapids. He concludes his pompous reflection like this:

The Imatra’s giant bosoms rise and fall under the weight of her big cool lungs; defiantly, threateningly, a testimony to eternal life, Imatra dances on in her self-willed game.

Check out over 200 classic Finnish travel posters and read more about all the great Finnish poster artists in the digital version of our book ”Come to Finland” (found in three different editions; in English, French and German). After enjoying the posters a while we believe you are ready to order the real thing: the printed coffee table book.