Vilho Henrik Lampi, the painter, was born on July 19th, 1898 in Oulu, from where he moved with his family to Liminka, Matinlauri farm, a decade later. In 1921, the young Vilho went to Helsinki to study at the Drawing School of the Finnish Art Association. He soon was granted scholarships and won first prizes in competitions. After his art studies, in 1925 the artist returned back to the North to his home farm. In Liminka, Vilho painted several still lifes, portraits and landscapes of familiar objects, models and landscapes from his home area. By the turn of the decade, he took part in domestic and international joint exhibitions. He also joined the Finnish Artists’ Association and was granted his first artist’s scholarship.

Family portrait Familyportrait, Vilho in the middle, 1906
Photo: Unknown

Artist at work Artist at work
Photo: Pekka Törmä

Vilho Lampi held the first and only solo exhibition during his lifetime in Oulu in the winter of 1931. Almost half of the works were sold. The artist was happy, ”My exhibition in Oulu went rather well. – -- There is a considerable interest in art exhibitions.”

At end of March 1931 the artist travelled to Paris for two months to acquaint himself with teaching in various academies, financing the trip with his grant. European functionalist and classical influences soon started to become visible in his production. In 1933, Lampi took part in both domestic and international exhibitions receiving recognition in the form of prizes and scholarships. His future looked bright. And yet, on March 17th, he threw himself into the River Oulujoki and drowned. His body was found later that spring. Lampi’s commemorial was held in the artist’s home and he was laid to rest in the landscape of the surrounding plains.

Matinlauri Matinlauri, 1931, oil
Owner: Vilho Lampi -museum

Notre Dame Notre Dame, Paris, 1931, oil
Owner: Private

On Finnish Independence Day December 6th, 1936 the artist’s colleagues organised a retrospective in Seurahuone, Oulu. In an exhibition arranged by Oulu Merkoskikerho Society in 1950, Lampi’s works received a lot of attention, and also many other commemorative exhibitions were arranged throughout Finland. Nowadays, there are Lampi’s paintings in several private and public art collections. His works have been on display both in Finland and abroad. Lampi’s life and works have been covered in several newspaper articles, and art or cultural publications. Vilho Lampi Society is active in Liminka, and it researches and promotes the legacy of the artist, and maintains a museum dedicated to Lampi. In the course of past decades painter Vilho Lampi has become a significant part of Finnish history of art.

Liminka landscape Liminka landscape, 2006
Photo: Katariina Kemppainen