Not much is actually known about the life and art of Albert Lindfors, one of the leading young artists of Finland’s golden age. The reason for this is the fire in Forssa Uusikylä (New Village) (1901) which destroyed Albert’s home along with his documents, letters and a great number of his paintings and works by his artist friends.
Albert was born in Somero 13.07.1860. His father moved to Forssa for work taking Albert along when he was five years old. His father, Henrik Lindfors, was a Glass Master and Painter at Forssa Yhtiöt Ltd. Albert started factory work in Forssa, as was customary, at the age of nine. In his adolescence he moved to Turku where he became a decorative artist’s apprentice. At the age of 18, Lindfors was granted the title of Craftsman as a professional artist. With encouragement from his teacher, he then moved to Stockholm to study at a College of Industrial Engineering.
Albert travelled to Vienna in 1881 where he worked for over one year. After that he studied in Mûnchen, Germany. Via St.Gotthard in the Swiss Alps, he hiked to Italy, Genova and Milan, before returning to Basel, Switzerland for a couple of years. From there he returned to Germany where he attended evening classes at the Arts Association School and worked during the day. He returned to Stockholm in 1886, completed his engineering studies, and graduated as a Drawing Teacher. In the same year, he began studies at the Stockholm Academy Of Fine Arts (Den Konglige Akademien för de Fria Konsterna) and completed his studies in 1889.
Lindfors returned to Finland at the turn of the 1880’s and 90’s, aged 30, having studied abroad for 10 years beforehand. He settled in Turku and his work was exhibited for the first time in Finland. Later he moved to Helsinki and began working a member of the Board of Directors of the Finnish Artists’ Association and as an Intendant. That same year he became a teacher at the Art and Industrial School of Occupations and Ornament Painting courses. During the summer break he went on a study trip to Hungary, Austria, Germany and France. In 1893, he received the so-called Hoving’s travel grant of 3000 Finnish marks with which he travelled to Paris to continue his art studies at the turn of the year 1893-94. He stayed in Paris until 1897. His work was at least once exhibited at The Salon de Paris.
On returning to Finland, Lindfors was prominent in both Helsinki and Forssa. At the turn of the century he settled permanently in Forssa, started a family and found his place in the Swedish speaking communities.
During his art studies in Paris, he had become acquainted with the Lumière Brothers’ movie tour and had liked what he had seen. Lindfors began construction work on a plot of land he acquired near the banks of the river Loimi. A cinema and residential building for his family were built on the site. The cinema was built according to Lindfors’ design and the artistic murals are all his handiwork. In his film career, his business partner and financier was the Manor House owner, Carl Meyer, whose share he soon bought out. According to a carving found on a wall beam, the first screening was a cinematic play film “"Ylioppilaan Kosto" (The Graduates Revenge)
Besides running the cinema, Lindfors produced paintings in Forssa and other areas, especially in summer. In Summer, the auditorium became the artist’s atelier with the two large windows providing plenty of light.
Albert Lindfors died after a long illness, on the 15.08.1922, in his home in Forssa. He was buried in Forssa Cemetery and his funeral was attended by many of his friends.
Forssa’s Living Picture Theatre, Finland's first rural cinema, has been restored, is active once again and is one of the world's oldest operating cinemas. Every year the theatre is home to an International Silent Film Festival, which for its part, pays full respect to the heritage built by the artist.
The info point and ticket sales are situated in the tent in Keskuskatu nearby the Elävienkuvien Teatteri. For online sales go to: elavienkuvienteatteri.fi. Tickets are also available in advance from Elävienkuvien Teatteri.