View Full Version : Kreeta Haapasalo

June Pelo
14-09-04, 20:55
I have a request from an author who is writing a book about Finland. He would like to know if there is a website with a painted portrait of Kreeta by Arvid Liljelund. I have a black and white copy of this portrait, but have not been able to find a colored version. Does anyone know of it?


Paivi T
14-09-04, 21:43
I tried to find a coloured version of the portrait, but failed to locate even a black-and-white one on the internet.

In case it is of any help: the website of the Finnish National Gallery has a colour photo of the painting by R.W.Ekman, of Kreeta playing the kantele. The URL is:


Päivi T

June Pelo
14-09-04, 21:56

Thanks. Yes, I found the other portrait by Ekman. I'm attaching the one we're looking for.


14-09-04, 22:39
Kreeta Haapasalo has been on a stamp: http://home.online.no/~jdigrane/amd/fwstamps/haapasalo_.jpg

According to internet the Liljelund picture could be found in the magazine Kotiliesi (1928 :2) "Kreeta Haapasalo plays her kantele". But that copy might be hard to find...

June Pelo
15-09-04, 01:22
Thanks, Hasse. I'll pass the message along. I have the postage stamp of Kreeta - it was given to me along with stamps of the other women who were honored at the same time.


15-09-04, 15:49
I, too, attempted to use google to search images and other links but came up empty. Only found the stamp and the color version Päivi mentioned.

Paivi T
15-09-04, 15:57
Browsed my art books and music books, found two pictures of a painting portraying Kreeta playing the kantele -- both times it was the Ekman painting.

But, I'm going to the our town library tomorrow to do some microfiche reading, researching my family lines. If necessary, I could take a look at the arts and music books there. Don't think they have any issues of Kotiliesi from the 1920s...

Päivi T

June Pelo
15-09-04, 17:34
Thank you all for your efforts. Mr. Axelrad said he remembers seeing this picture in color on a website, but can't find it now, so he assumes it was removed.

BTW, Mr. Axelrad asked if anyone knows the origin of his name. He thought it was Danish, but now think perhaps it could be Swedish. Does anyone know?


Karen Norwillo
16-09-04, 02:05
June, Just for curiosity, I did an Ellis Island search with the name Axelrad. Most emigrants with that surname were Russian, Austrian or Polish. Didn't find a Swede or Dane in the more than 250 names. Karen

16-09-04, 07:00
The name Axelrad sounded towards german or eastern europe jiddish - so I did some hunting.

See link (http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Kolomea/nameorigin.htm)

Axelrod, Axelrad

P Originally a first name appearing in the Middle Ages. Variant forms are Axeldar, Axelrood, Achselrad. Some explain the name as an inverted form of Alexander. Others see it as the German name Axel with various elaborations. Another explanation offered is that the name means shoulder or wheel (Achel and Rad in German) and is a reference to the circular badge that Jews were forced to wear on their shoulders. While all these theories are interesting, they do not offer a clear answer (Kaganoff, 1977).

The form Akselrad is found in Poland in an area that Poles called it Korczyna and the Jews called it Korczyn.

See link 1 (http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/krosno/krosnokors.htm)

The following is a list of the Jewish inhabitants of Korczyn; it was compiled by Bill Leibner. Those who perished have "SHOA" after their names.

Akselrad (Axelrad), Hindzia
Akselrad (Axelrad), Lajb
Axelrad , Bendet moved to Kros SHOA
Axelrad Itzhak
Axelrad Shimshon SHOA
Axelrad Shlomo
Axelrad Tzila wife of above
Axelrad wife of above
Axelrad Yehuda Hersh
Axelrad, Cila wife of above+ child SHOA
Axelrad, Meshulam, rosh kehilla SHOA
Axelrad, Shmuel moved to Kros SHOA

Another pointer is towards Romania

link 2 (http://www.romanianjewish.org/en/mosteniri_ale_culturii_iudaice_03_11_13.html#i16)

Polish jews (http://www.jewishgen.org/jri-pl/psa/zalozcesurn.htm)

Search for the names "Axelrod", "Akselrod" and "Achselrod" and you will see lots of individuals.

Good hunting!

June Pelo
16-09-04, 19:32
Thank you Karen and Hasse. Very interesting. I have forwarded your responses to Mr. Axelrad and I think he'll be pleased.


Paivi T
09-10-04, 10:37
Unhappily, I must report a failure. Now I've combed both arts and music books in the local library, unsuccessfully.

I found two photos of Kreeta's portrait by Arvid Liljelund -- both in black and white. The first photo is in a book on Arvid Liljelund, the second, in a book on Kreeta. The book on Arvid states that Kreeta's portrait is in private ownership, but does not reveal the identity of the owner.

Hope that someone else can help with this problem.

Päivi T

June Pelo
09-10-04, 17:50

Thank you for your efforts to find the photo. I have checked with many people and they all have the same photo in black and white. So I'm beginning to think there is no copy of it in color.


24-10-04, 22:49
June has now by her own investigations found the color painting by Arvid Liljelund of Kreeta Haapasalo (Kantele-Kreeta) and an image of a replica of this stunning painting is at http://sydaby.eget.net/swe/jp_kantele.htm

June wrote to me:

"Here are the events leading up to the portrait of Kreeta:

I was contacted by Arthur M. Axelrad of the Department of English at
California State University in Long Beach, California. He was preparing a
manuscript of short stories for a visitor's guide to Helsinki, entitled
"The Helsinki Chronicles". He was looking for a portrait in color of
Kreeta Haapasalo - something his readers could view on the Internet, but
was not successful in his search. He eventually found my website which
contains an article about Kreeta and a black and white picture of her
playing her kantele. He wanted to know if the portrait could be found in
color on the Internet. I contacted many friends here and in Finland, but no
one knew if there was such a picture. A cousin suggested that I contact
Reijo Ojala in Finland, which I did. He forwarded my request to Matti
Kivelä, Kaustinen, Finland, who responded with a copy of the painting - in
color - along with these comments:

The original painting, "Kreeta Haapasalo kotonaan kanteletta soittamassa",
by Arvid Liljelund ended up in a private collection through a raffle held
by Finnish art association in 1888. The painting has been an heirloom in
that family to this day. The current location of the original painting is
not known to us.

Inset with this document is a picture of a replica of the original
painting. The replica is on the wall of the neighboring house of the house
in which Kreeta Haapasalo was born. The neighboring house is called
"Vanhatalo" and is owned by Eero and Hilkka Järvelä."

June Pelo
27-10-04, 21:00
I just had an interesting e-mail from Göran Cainberg about the painting of Kreeta. He wrote:

"I know very well the replica of the painting and the Vanhatalo.

My wife Reetta is born in "Vanhatalo" and Eero Järvelä is my wifes brother."

I had contacted Kreeta's granddaughter who lives in the state of Washington and asked if she had a copy of this painting. She said she only had a black and white copy, so I have sent her a copy of it in color.

Thanks to all who tried to help my search.