The Symposium


Nowadays, Robert Kajanus is often also remembered for his leisure pursuits: from the 1890s onwards he collaborated closely with Sibelius, and together with Axel Gallén the artist they formed the nucleus of what came to be known as The Symposium (*). At its sessions, pro-Finnish artists would meet at the Kämp, König or Catani restaurants or the Pirtti artists’ club to discuss topical issues. In addition to the regular members, almost all the leading pro-Finnish artists of the time came along as something in the nature of associate members – among them the Järnefelt brothers, Eino Leino, Juhani Aho and sometimes Oskar Merikanto.

Some of the Symposium members came from the Tuusulanjärvi artist community (*); like Sibelius, Juhani Aho, Pekka Halonen and Eero Järnefelt (painter brother of Armas Järnefelt) lived on or around Lake Tuusula. In the 1890s, this community was marked by not only its strong pro-Finnish sentiments but also Karelianism. These families were both friends and closely related, the Järnefelts and Sibeliuses in particular through marriage.

Sources: Matti Vainio – Nouskaa aatteet!, & Riitta Konttinen – Onnellista asua maalla. Tuusulanjärven taiteilijayhteisö