Jac Ahrenberg’s sketch books

Johan Jacob “Jac” Ahrenberg (1847 Vyborg – 1914 Helsinki) was a Finnish architect, painter and writer. Aalto University’s Archive has just digitized a collection of Ahrenberg’s work from two sketch folders, including Ahrenberg’s drawings, paintings, photographs and prints. The sketchbooks will be available soon in Aalto-Finna’s archive materials.

Jac Ahrenberg. Photograph: Adolf Ecksteins Verlag, Daniel Nyblin. CC-BY. National Board of Antiquities / Finna.fi

Ahrenberg graduated from Stockholm´s Royal Academy of Fine Arts – School of Architecture in 1875. In 1877-1886, Ahrenberg worked as an architect in the the board of public buildings (in Finnish: Yleisten rakennusten ylihallitus) and as county architect in Oulu (1884-1885) and in Vyborg (1885-1886). He was appointed as chief intendant in 1910. Ahrenberg was conservative in architecture and supported C.L. Engel’s classicism. He also represented a classical academic tradition in state administration. Ahrenberg designed several public buildings, interiors and restorations.

Jac Ahrenberg. Page from a sketch book. Public Domain. Aalto University Archives.

Ahrenberg was also a productive writer, painter and art critic. He worked in art associations, lectured on art and wrote literary and visual art criticism in several Finnish newspapers. He was a member of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design, was one of the founders of The Friends of Finnish Handicraft, acted as artistic advisor at Arabia and designed interiors, furniture and artifacts for the industrial art exhibitions. Ahrenberg also taught drawing and art history at the Polytechnical Institute (later the Helsinki University of Technology, current Aalto University).

Jac Ahrenberg. Page from a sketchbook. Public Domain. Aalto University Archives.

Jac Ahrenberg. Page from a sketch book. Public Domain. Aalto University Archives.

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