Ownership of Joenniemi transferred to the Fine Arts Foundation in October 1972


Gösta Serlachius’ Art Museum had operated since 1945 in a couple of rooms which were rented for its temporary operation from Joenniemi Manor. A notable number of artworks were located at the offices of G. A. Serlachius Ltd. as well as elsewhere. It took thirty years since the death of the initiator of the foundation before the art museum was able to have premises of its own and the professional development of the museum to professional commenced.  

Gösta Serlachius’ younger son, Bror Serlachius, had received Joenniemi as an inheritance, and he bequeathed it further to his sons Peter and Bror Olof. They were willing to engage themselves into a long-term rental agreement or possibly to sell Joenniemi and its surrounding park. The annual meeting of the Fine Arts Foundation in 1970 stated that a speedy decision would be desirable. 

A committee of three persons composed a preliminary estimate and a proposal as to how Joenniemi Manor and the park would be transferred to the Fine Arts Foundation. The estimated price for the building was 880 000 Finnish Marks and 240 000 Finnish Marks for the plot. The proposal included that G. A. Serlachius Ltd. would rent the top floor of the manor and that a larger exhibition hall would be built close to the building. 

The completion of the sales transaction was delayed, and the foundation’s management started to get frustrated. Bror Serlachius suggested that a value would be determined for each of the permanent artworks of Joenniemi Manor, such as the sculpted decorations of the entrance door and window frames, murals on the wine cellar walls and on the library ceiling. R. Erik Serlachius, the chairperson of the foundation, had written his comments on the proposal: “some, yes, no” 

Bror Serlachius notified of his intention to keep to himself the estate manager’s house as well as a part of the garage, cellar and other storage spaces of the main building and to deliberating to sell some furniture of Joenniemi. The decision was long awaited, and the chairperson started to get impatient: ”It is not my fault but my brother’s who cannot decide whether he is going to sell Joenniemi or not.” 

In October 1972 the transaction on Joenniemi was completed. “I want to declare, hereby, that the Joenniemi estate, about 6 hectares land and the buildings, have been transferred to the Fine Arts Foundation with a bill of sale dated 6 October 1972”, wrote the chairperson in a letter to the board of trustees. A member of the board, artist Lennart Segerstråle congratulated: “Let me congratulate you for this purchase which will, once and for all, make Joenniemi the museum that Gösta in his time planned to erect at another place. His memory comes to my mind often in relation to those tasks which he commissioned for my brush. He has also planted the seed of which now has grown a viable plant.”

In the budget of 1973, a sum of 50 000 Finnish Marks was reserved to repair Joenniemi. Upstairs and the kitchen were rented out to G. A. Serlachius Ltd. As a compensation for the use of the premises the company took over the responsibilities which included maintenance of the environment and normal annual reparations.

Helena Hänninen

Bror Serlachius’ letters to R. Erik Serlachius 6 Aug 1971 and 24 Aug 1972; 
R. Erik Serlachius’ letter to Lennart Segerstråle 29 Feb 1972; 
Lennart Segerstråle’s letter to R. Erik Serlachius 16 Oct 1972, 
R. Erik Serlachius correspondence, Serlachius Museums’ archive.

Joenniemen kartano 1970-luvun alkupuolella. Kartanon päässä näkyy vielä vuosikymmenen puolivälissä purettu kasvihuone. Kuva: Serlachius-museoiden valokuvakokoelma, kuvaaja Heinonen.
Joenniemi Manor late 1970s. A conservatory that was demolished mid 1970s is still visible at the other end of the manor. Serlachius Museum photography collection, photographer Heinonen.
R. Erik Serlchiuksen kirje Lennart Segerstrålelle 29.2.1972. Serlachius-museoiden arkisto.
R. Erik Serlachius’ letter to Lennart Segerstråle from 29 Feb 1972. Serlachius Museums’ Archive.
Lennart Segerstrålen kirje R. Erik Serlachiukselle 16.10.1972. Serlachius-museoiden arkistot.
Lennart Segerstråle’s letter to R. Erik Serlachius from 16 Oct 1972. Serlachius Museums’ Archive.