Tag Archives: Aino SIbelius

New biography of Aino Sibelius (in Finnish)

In recent years, in addition to a steady flow of new works about Jean Sibelius, an increasing amount of attention has been paid to Aino (1871–1969), the composer’s often long-suffering wife. Now a major biography of her has been published – the most extensive to date – written by Riitta Konttinen, emeritus professor of art history at Helsinki University, who has previously written about Finnish women artists such as Venny Soldan and Helene Schjerfbeck and also contributed to the book about Ainola that appeared in 2015. Konttinen points out that Aino was a remarkably strong and independent person who overcame many difficulties including the death of one of her daughters and her husband’s debts and alcohol problems.

Aino Sibelius, née Järnefelt, was born into an large and influential family: daughter of a general, with siblings who excelled in the fields of drama, painting and music. She was not only the mother of six daughters but also a highly skilled organizer whose competence at managing the family made an effective counterbalance to her husband’s impulsivity and financial naïvety. She was a talented linguist, writer, mathematician and artist as well as a fine amateur musician. Her passion for Ainola’s garden is well-known and her skilful cultivation of fruit, vegetables and berries made a significant and sustainable contribution to the family’s economy. Her empathy with and belief in her husband’s music were unshakeable even if she did become exasperated at his sometimes immoderate behaviour. Nonetheless, she kept her emotions strictly under control, especially in public. She continued to live at Ainola – the house she and Jean had commissioned and lived in since 1904 – until 1969, the year of her death at the age of 97.

Aino Sibelius by Riitta Konttinen. Published by Siltala, Helsinki 2019. In Finnish
Link to purchase: click here

Aino Sibelius Exhibition in Järvenpää


Järvenpää Art Museum is organizing the first ever exhibition about Jean Sibelius’s wife, Aino Sibelius. The exhibition runs from 1st March to 4th October 2015.

This unique exhibition tells the story of Aino Sibelius and highlights her significance for the art of Jean Sibelius. The exhibition displays personal items that belonged to Aino (most of them never revealed before), some of Aino’s handcrafts and interior designs, photographs, art and audiovisual material.

The exhibition brings out the meaning of family and home as an inspiration and support for artistic work. The role of women in taking care of everyday tasks was significant in the artist community of Lake Tuusula.

The music of Sibelius and his peaceful working environment meant everything to Aino. There was strength, incorruptibility and idealism in her character. ‘Write symphonies!’ she encouraged Sibelius even amid financial troubles. The garden was a great refreshment and a subject for constant care for Aino Sibelius. The garden’s floral splendour was a delight for her, its vegetables were food for the family, and her apples won awards.

More information about Aino Sibelius (© Järvenpää Art Museum): click here.


Järvenpää Art Museum, Kirjastokatu 8, FIN-04400 Järvenpää, Finland

Opening hours:
March-April: Wed-Sun 10–17
May-October: Tue-Sun 11–18

Admission fees
Adults €6 / OAPs €5 / Children, students, unemployed €2

Information and guided tour bookings
Phone: +358 40 315 3881 / e-mail taidemuseo@jarvenpaa.fi
Website and further info here.
Guided tours can be arranged in English.

Source and photo copyrights: © Järvenpää Art Museum