Wednesday 6. February 2019
An exhibition showing the production and life of the artist couple Eric and Olga Ehrström, who represented Finnish Art Nouveau, has opened in the Serlachius Museums, Mänttä. Olga Gummerus-Ehrström (1876–1938) and Eric O. W. Ehrström (1881–1934) have been almost forgotten in Finland’s art history. The Serlachius Museums’ exhibition tells about their art and life more extensively than ever before.
The exhibition is spread over two museums. Serlachius Museum Gustaf presents the Ehrströms’ industrial art production and sketches as well as the couple’s life and joint projects. Art Museum Gösta features Olga Gummerus-Ehrström’s works, most of which have never been on public display before. Her production is a wonderful addition to the story of Finland’s women artists.
Gösta Serlachius (1876–1942), who led the paper industry company G. A. Serlachius Ltd, was an important patron and friend of the Ehrströms in the early decades of the 20th century. The childless couple bequeathed their entire artistic estate in the mid-1930s: over 4,000 works and sketches to the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation.
The Ehrström collection has been very little studied and displayed over the decades. As a result of cataloguing and research that began in 2011 and lasted for years, parts of the valuable collection have finally been unveiled. The exhibition is curated by Serlachius Museums’ researcher Helena Hänninen and by Pälvi Myllylä, museum director of the Visavuori Museum, who is well acquainted with Olga Gummerus-Ehrström’s art.
Olga Gummerus-Ehrström (nicknamed Olli), who studied at art schools in Finland and Paris, was an artist whose talent, particularly as a portrait painter, was recognised at an early age. At the turn of the 20th century, she met the young Eric O. W. Ehrström in Paris, and the couple soon married. Olga became her husband’s work partner in his projects, to a large extent giving up her own career as a painter.
As a young man, Eric O. W. Ehrström (Bucklan) wanted to be a painter, but while studying with Akseli Gallen-Kallela, who became internationally famous, he found his calling in industrial art and crafts and as a graphic artist. He worked with Gallen-Kallela on, among other things, fresco paintings for the Finnish pavilion at the 1900 Paris Exposition.
For many years, Ehrström designed and executed interior design details and decorative themes for Art Nouveau buildings designed by the well-known Finnish architectural firm Gesellius-Lindgren-Saarinen. The architects’ most famous works are the Hvitträsk and Hvittorp villas in Kirkkonummi, the Pohjola Insurance Company and Pohjoismaiden Osakepankki buildings in Helsinki, Suur-Merijoki Manor in the rural municipality of Vyborg and Haus Molchow (Haus Remer) north of Berlin.
As an artist, Ehrström was exceptionally versatile. He was skilled in metal embossing as well as enamel and jewellery work. He designed and made stained glass and fresco paintings as well as graphics, heraldic items, dishware and textiles. He wrote and illustrated books, drew and painted. In addition to all of this, Ehrström also worked as a conservator, teacher, curator and artistic director.
The Serlachius Museums are open:
in the winter season, 1 September–31 May, from Tuesday to Sunday 11 am–6 pm.
in the summer season, 1 June–31 August, every day 10 am–6 pm.
The museums’ visiting addresses:
Serlachius Museum Gustaf: R. Erik Serlachiuksen katu 2, Mänttä
Serlachius Museum Gösta: Joenniementie 47, Mänttä
Additional Information and image requests: Susanna Yläjärvi, Information Officer, Serlachius, +358 (0)50 560 0156, firstname.lastname@example.org
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