George Kulmala, 1896-1940

Autumn Scene | George Kulmala

Autumn Scene | George Kulmala

Oil on wood panel
Size: 12" x 10"
Price: $800

Details: Signed left "G.A. Kulmala. Framed in vintage gold wood frame made by Matthews Toronto, measures 16.5 X 14.5 inches.
Provenance: Private Collection.

Additional Information and Photos Available Upon Request

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George Kulmala was a painter of Ontario’s Northland
whose growing artistic career was cut short at age 44

Biography

George Arthur Kulmala was born in Pori, Finland in 1896. He came to Canada with his parents in 1904, when he was eight years of age and they settled in Toronto.

As a youngster, George Kulmala attended school in Toronto, where he showed a talent for drawing and painting and soon caught the attention of his teachers.

George Kulmala later attended the Ontario College of Art summer school at Port Hope under J.W. Beatty. Beatty’s influence can be seen in his pupil’s landscapes.

The young artist’s hope was to spend all his time as a professional painter, but in order to make a living he conducted a fur business.

Painted Muskoka

George Kulmala spent many of his summers painting at his summer home in Muskoka. A few years before his death, the Canadian painter bought forty acres of land near Lake Rosseau, 200 kilometres north of Toronto, where he had planned to make a retreat for city artists.

One of George Kulmala’s paintings were exhibited at Wembley in England, another at the World’s Fair in New York, while his artworks were also regularly shown in Ontario.

During his short career as an artist, which paralleled that of the Group of Seven, George Kulmala became known for his colourful landscapes of Northern Ontario. He painted many summer and fall scenes in vibrant colours, as well as winter landscapes around Muskoka and Algonquin Park.

George Kulmala was president of the Toronto Finnish Artists’ Group and a member of the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA).

Died at Young Age

George Kulmala exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy (RCA) and the OSA during the 1920s and 1930s, which included lean years for art sales during the Great Depression.

At the OSA’s 1933 Annual Exhibition of Little Pictures at the Art Gallery of Toronto, George Kulmala’s Afternoon Sunlight was one of two pantings out of 212 that sold.

George Kulmala died at the young age of 44, leaving behind a wife and daughter.

After his death, a Toronto Star’s obituary referred to him as an “Artist of Northland.” George Kulmala’s oil paintings are held by several public galleries and in many private collections.

Sources:
A Dictionary of Canadian Artists,
volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker. National Gallery of Canada, Artists in Canada database.
Ontario Society of Artists President’s Annual Report 1933-34. Retrieved online.