Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation

The Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation was established in 1933 to care and maintain the art collection and to build and maintain a museum as well as to adorn Mänttä with art. The Serlachius museums’ root are deep in the Finnish forest. The forest industry legend and industrialist Gustaf Adolf Serlachius, the self-proclaimed Paper Devil, was an art collector and patron. As a result, he supported the young talents of his time. In late 19th century Gustaf Adolf created a beginning to an art collection, later augmented by his nephew, the paper mill owner Gösta Serlachius. The Fine Arts Foundation that carries his name maintains the Serlachius Museums.

Gösta Serlachius wanted his art collection to stay in Mänttä, that, in his own words, had seen the birth of the collection. Its works comprise pieces of Finland’s Golden Age of art, old European masters, older Finnish art, art of the break-through of Finnish modernism. In addition, it contains contemporary art from Finland and further afield.

The next generations

After Gösta Serlachius died, the Fine Arts Foundation was led by his son Ralph Erik Serlachius (1901–1980). He was the chair between 1943 and 1976. During his era Serlachius collection acquired slowly new artworks. In year 1973, the museum employed its first full-time chief curator with education in the museum branch.

During the era of Gustaf Serlachius (1935–2009), the Serlachius Fine Art Foundation elaborated its operations and opened new exhibitions. He became the chair of the board of trustees in 1976 and the chair of the board of directors in 1980. Joenniemi manor was a target of thorough renovations during 1983–1984. Subsequently, museum operations spread in the entire building.

In 1986 G.A. Serlachius Ltd. merged with Metsäliitto Industries. In connection to the merger, the Fine Arts Foundation reviewed its rules. The representatives of the newly established family association, The Descendants of Sissi and Gösta Serlachius, replaced the representatives of the G. A. Serlachius Ltd. in the board of trustees of the foundation.

Two museums

In 2000 the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation acquired the former head office of G. A. Serlachius Ltd. in the centre of Mänttä. After the emerge of Metsä-Serla, the headquarters of the new company transferred to Helsinki. As result, the former head office had found only partial use. In years 2003, a museum presenting the history of the Serlachius family, Mänttä and Finnish paper industry opened its doors in the former office building.

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 the Serlachius Museums received their new names: Gösta and Gustaf.

A new museum building

In 2010 Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation opened an international architectural design competition to build an extension to Art Museum Gösta. The completion 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, Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation has carried out long-term projects of collection management alongside expanding exhibition activities. In the early part of 2015, the board of directors of the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation approved the collection policy of the foundation. It contains among other things the principles determining how the Serlachius Foundation maintains and replenishes its valuable art collection. 

The board of the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation

At present on the board 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
Christina Serlachius-Reenpää
Gösta Serlachius

As representative of Academy of Fine Arts:
Antti Linnovaara

As representative of Abo Akademi:
Marie-Sofie Lundström

As representative of the Artists’ Association of Finland:
Maija Helasvuo

Gustaf Adolf Serlachius

Gustaf Adolf Serlachius established a ground wood mill on Mäntänkoski in 1868. Despite the serious problems, he was able to build a economically profitable industrial company. G. A. Serlachius personally acquainted with several artists and prominent cultural figures. The most important of these contacts was with the painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

Gösta Serlachius

Gösta Serlachius was a mill owner who was direct in his business affairs. He also had a delicate and sensitive side that was particularly apparent in his relation to art. He converted the paper company that his uncle G. A. Serlachius established into one of Finland’s most important forest combines. In 1933 he established the Fine Arts Foundation that carries his name.