Hannes Autere’s art in Mänttä

The online publication Hannes Autere’s Art in Mänttä gathers together the most significant results of more than a decade of collaboration between sculptor Hannes Autere and industrialist Gösta Serlachius. From the late 1920s until the early 1940s, Autere created numerous decorative sculptures, reliefs and other commissioned works for the buildings erected in Mänttä by Serlachius. Many of these works can still be viewed today. 

Sculptor Hannes Autere (1888–1967), from Saarijärvi, is particularly remembered for his wood sculptures depicting Finnish folk life in a gently humorous way. He received inspiration for the subjects of his works mainly from the rural life of his home district and the tales he heard there. In addition, Autere produced works with religious themes, which can be found in a number of Finnish churches.

Autere was a versatile artist who started his career with small works in tin, but later switched to fashioning wood sculptures and reliefs. In addition to sculpture, Autere was a keen painter. While working for Serlachius, however, Autere was able to try out his skills in more diverse commissions, such as designing buildings. 

Gösta Serlachius (1876–1942), industrialist and patron of Mänttä, was a great art lover and collector. He supported several artists of his time in their careers, for example by purchasing art. Serlachius also dreamed of establishing his own art museum in Mänttä, and although this dream was not fulfilled during his lifetime, Serlachius was highly significant for the development of the town of Mänttä. Among other things, Serlachius assumed responsibility for building a church in Mänttä church after the parish of Mänttä parish separated from the parish of Vilppula in 1921. This construction project also launched the prolific collaboration of Serlachius and Autere, which continued until Serlachius’ death.

By the time he met Serlachius in 1927, Autere had already gained a reputation as a skilled sculptor, but many of the best works of his career were nevertheless commissioned by Serlachius. Thanks to the commissioned works produced for Mänttä, the sculptor’s output expanded and his reputation as an artist spread even further afield. 

Serlachius, moreover, appreciated Autere’s versatile talent and original style, even though disagreements between the men could not always be avoided. In addition to the commissioned works, Serlachius also enthusiastically acquired for his own art collection Autere’s independent sculptures and paintings. The works in question are nowadays to be found in the collection of the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation.

With this online publication, you can become acquainted in an easy and fun way with the Hannes Autere works still be found in Mänttä – even from the comfort of your home!

Hannes Autere, Forest Evaluation and Tree Marking, 1934, relief on wood. A detail of the decoration on a chest of drawers. Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation. Photo: Sampo Linkoneva.