Wäinö Valdemar Aaltonen (8 March 1894  - 30 May 1966) was a Finnish artist and sculptor. The Chambers Biographical Dictionary describes him as "one of the leading Finnish sculptors".
He was born to a tailor in the village of Marttila, Finland. He went into art after being deaf as a child - attending the School of Drawing of the Turku Art Association from age 16, or specifically between 1910 and 1915.  He had spent many of the early years at this school studying painting, but as a sculptor he was an autodidact. A journey he made to Italy in 1923 opened his eyes to cubist and futurist art. These elements can primarily be seen in his paintings.
As the Republic of Finland arose, and the First World War raged - he sculpted War Memorials. He soon became a nationalist icon, the exemplar Finn - establishing an exhibition in Stockholm in 1927. As one would expect, his sculpture is nationalist in nature - often casts or sculptures of other national heroes - monumental figures and busts portraying citizens of Finland. An example is the 1925 sculpture of Paavo Nurmi - a cast of which is exhibited outside the Helsinki stadium. Another notable work is that of Jean Sibelius, a bust of 1928. These two works, like the main body of his work, are bronze casts - though he did work in stone and even glass. Though chiefly naturalistic, the cubist influence is also present here. He was one of the early 20th century pioneers of direct carving.
Rahua (Peace), sculpture by the Finnish artist and sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen
He was married four times. A large collection of his works are on permanent exhibition at the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art in Turku.
The statue of Finland's third president P.E. Svinhufvud (1861-1944) dating from 1961 was created by Waino Aaltonen.
* Tytön pää, n. 1917
1. ^ Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, page 1
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