Serlachius Art Collection

Serlachius Art Collection

Gösta Serlachius (1876–1942) established the Fine Arts Foundation carrying his name in 1933 in order to secure the future of the art collection he had gathered, and to start art museum operations in Mänttä.

As an art collector and patron of artists Gösta Serlachius continued in the footsteps of his uncle, founder of Mänttä paper mill, Gustaf Adolf Serlachius (1830–1901). Mill founder had supported young talented artist in early stage of their careers.

Through his uncle, Gösta Serlachius became acquainted with Akseli Gallen-Kallela, who also became his friend and the key artist of the collection he gathered. Many other artists also became friends of Gösta Serlachius. Rather a price-conscious buyer of art, Serlachius was simultaneously a generous host for the artists close to him, such as Eric O. W. Ehrström, Pekka Halonen, Hannes Autere, Victor Westerholm and Jussi Mäntynen. Non-figurative art of painting was not particularly enchanting for Serlachius, nevertheless he acquired broad-mindedly exhibited pieces of his contemporary modernist artists, such as Tyko Sallinen, Wäinö Aaltonen, Magnus Enckell and Helene Schjerfbeck. 

The art collection that Gösta Serlachius gathers comprises old European master paintings which are rare in Finnish circumstances. Gösta Serlachius was internationally well connected and especially between the two World wars he travelled actively between London, Paris, Stockholm as well as the cities of Russia and Germany. He often engaged experts to support his decisions on art acquisitions, but ultimately trusted his own instincts as a collector.

Gösta Serlachius’ preferences and taste in art remain a visible common thread in the present collection policy of Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation. The collection has grown in the 2010s and comprises well over 10 000 artworks which include beside painting and sculpture, also comprehensive entities of sketches and graphic art as well as items of contemporary art acquired during recent years: photographs, videos, installations and public monuments, among others.

The art collection entails several comprehensive artist-specific bodies of artworks from Finnish masters. Most important of them are works of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Emil Wikström, Albert Edelfelt, Helene Schjerfbeck, Ellen Thesleff, Hugo Simberg, Alvar Cawén and Marcus Collin. Other noteworthy separate collections are the bequest collection of Eric O. W. and Olga Ehrström, donations of the members of the Serlachius Family, artworks acquired of count Louis Sparre, heritage collection of Lennart Segerstråle, bequest of Lars-Olof Robert Stigell and donation of Collection Kivijärvi Foundation, which was received in the 2010s.

Presentation of the Serlachius Art Collection

A selection of items from the Serlachius Art Collection has been presented on the web site The presentations are on Finnish and English languages.