THE FINE ARTS
Gösta Serlachius established a Fine Arts Foundation carrying his own name
to maintain his unique art collection.
THE HISTORY OF GÖSTA SERLACHIUS FINE ARTS FOUNDATION
The Serlachius Museums are maintained by the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation that was established in 1933 to care and maintain the art collection compiled by Gösta Serlachius (1876–1942).
The purpose of the foundation was determined as to build and maintain a museum and adorn Mänttä with art. For this purpose Gösta Serlachius bequethed his art collection of some 250 artworks, 2 785 shares of G.A. Serlachius Ltd. as well as Kuronlahti estate from Impilahti.
The board of trustees that was leading the foundation consisted of members nominated by G.A. Serlachius company, and representatives of Finland's Academy of Fine Arts, Abo Akademi, the Artists’ Association of Finland, Finnisch sculptors' Association.
Gösta Serlachius wanted his art collection to stay in Mänttä, that, in his own words, had seen the birth of the collection. The emphasis of the collection was and today still is in the art of Finnish Golden Age. It also consists works of old European masters, older Finnish art, art of the break-through of Finnish modernism and artworks of modernism. Gösta Serlachius had no prejudism against the contemporary art of his time.
Developing the Operations
After Gösta Serlachius died the Fine Arts Foundation was led by his son Ralph Erik Serlachius (1901–1980) between 1943 and 1976. During his era new artworks were acquired slowly. In year 1973 the museum employed its first full-time chief curator with schooling in the museum branch.
During the era of Gustaf Serlachius (1935-2009) the foundation and its exhibition operations were elaborated. He became the chair of the board of trustees in 1976 and the chair of the board of directors in 1980.
In 1986 G.A. Serlachius Ltd. merged with Metsäliitto Industries. In connection to the merger the rules of the Fine Arts Foundation were reviewed. Representatives of the G.A. Serlachius Ltd. were replaced in the board of trustees by the representatives of a family association called the descendants of Sissi and Gösta Serlachius that had been established.
Early 1990's was financially troublesome time for the Fine Arts Foundation and the museum was closed on account of economical reasons between October 1991 and May 1992. The foundation interrupted its art acquisitions for some time. As the economical situation became more stable the acquiring of artworks was resumed. Several significant donations of artworks were also given to the Fine Art Foundation.
In the 1990's the operations of Fine Arts Foundation gained more visiibility. For instance in the autumn of 1992 the museum organized in collaboration with the Finnish Institute in France and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, a comprehensive Akseli Gallen-Kallela exhibition in Paris. It was the main event in France in celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of Finnish independence.
A New Era Begins
In year 2009 Gustaf Serlachius died. Earlier the same year Henrik de la Chapelle rose to the position of the chair of the board of directors of the Fine Arts Foundation. At same time the museums integrated their organisations and museums received their new names: Gösta and Gustaf.
In 2010 Fine Arts Foundation opened an international architectural design competition to build an extension to Art Museum Gösta. The conpletion of the new museum building summer 2014 has meant multiplication of operations and made the Serlachius Museums a significant cultural attraction outside the major populated areas.
In addition, Fine Arts Foundation has carried out long-term projects of collection management alongside expanding exhibition acitvities. In the early part of 2015, the board of directors of the Fine Arts Foundation approved the collection policy of the foundation. It contains ampn other things the principles according to which the valuable art collection of the foundation will be maintained and replenished. The collection policy will be updated at regular intervals.
At present on the board of directors of the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation the representatives of the descendants of Sissi and Gösta Serlachius are:
Henrik de la Chapelle, chair,
Susanna Serlachius-Pressler, vice-chair.
Specialist members are:
PhD Marie-Sofie Lundström, representative of Abo Akademi,
artist Antti Linnovaara, representative of Academy of Fine Arts, and
sculptor Anna-Kaisa Ant-Wuorinen, representative of the Artists’ Association of Finland.