Department of Art after 1800
Originally trained as a furniture maker, Yrjö Liipola lived in Hungary from 1904 as a political refugee from Finland, which was then under Russian tsarist control, to escape conscription into the Russian army. Liipola studied sculpture under Alajos Stróbl and Ede Kallós, and soon afterwards he married a Hungarian woman. Besides working as a sculptor, he also pursued a political career, and between 1925 and 1934 he performed tasks for the Finnish consulate in Hungary. In 1934 he moved back to Finland, where he served as Hungarian consul until 1937. He retained a close friendship with Hungary for the rest of his life.
He was a versatile naturalist master, and during his long life he produced numerous sculptures. He regularly visited the artists’ colony in Szolnok, where he worked alongside Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl and other great Hungarian artists of the period. Liipola was particularly adept at carving marble, and he became a popular portrait sculptor among members of the Hungarian aristocracy and the cultural elite.
Liipola also created numerous plaques and medals, and the Collection of International Art after 1800 holds the plaque he made in honour of József Maywald. Maywald was a priest and teacher at the Piarist Grammar School in Budapest. The plaque was commissioned by his former pupils and colleagues to celebrate his fortieth anniversary as a teacher. An interesting detail is the Greek mythological scene beneath the portrait, a reference to Maywald’s outstanding achievements in the field of classical philology.
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.