Rafael Wardi: Self-Portrait (1969). Private collection.

DURING a career that has spanned over 60 years, Rafael Wardi has been widely recognised for his wide range of colourful paintings. Depicting a variety of still lifes, portraits, city views and landscapes, up until the end of the 1990s, the majority of his artworks were oil paintings.

Not confining himself to only one method of expression, Wardi went on to produce watercolours, drawings and graphics. Similar to his switch from oils to watercolours, his oeuvre has not been limited to one particular style of visual expression, having designed opera sets and costumes, as well as taking part in dance productions. Furthermore, he has also worked at the School of the Fine Arts Academy as a teacher and has developed art therapy at Nikkilä psychiatric hospital.

Wardi’s portrait of then-President Tarja Halonen in 2002 would see his work being introduced to a new audience of art lovers. Still active today, an overview of the different phases of Wardi’s career is on offer at Helsinki’s Ateneum Art Museum. On display until 2 March, the exhibition comprises some 90 works, showcasing the artist’s versatility and ability to transform.

Rafael Wardi
Until 2 March
Ataneum Art Museum
Kaivokatu 2

James O’Sullivan
Finnish National Gallery, Central Art Archives / Kirsi Halkola