Ateneum’s Finland 100 projects reached large audiences across Finland

The Finland 100 projects of the Ateneum Art Museum have taken the Ateneum’s beloved works on a tour of 14 art museums across Finland, from Mariehamn to Inari. The exhibitions Stories of Finnish Art – the Ateneum Collection on Tour and Classics on Tour 2017 have broken visitor records at museums. This is the first time in the 21st century that Ateneum works have toured Finland on this scale.

Stories of Finnish Art launched Finland’s centenary celebrations at the Rovaniemi Art Museum

Stories of Finnish Art – the Ateneum Collection on Tour is the largest touring exhibition produced by the Ateneum in the 21st century. In terms of themes and presentation, the exhibition follows the Stories of Finnish Art exhibition currently on display at the Ateneum. The artists featured in the exhibition include Wäinö Aaltonen, Fanny Churberg, Albert Edelfelt, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Eero Järnefelt, Essi Renvall, Tyko Sallinen and Ellen Thesleff. The exhibition includes both classics and some rarely exhibited works.

Stories of Finnish Art was the Rovaniemi Art Museum’s most popular visiting exhibition ever, attracting a total of 12,500 visitors. At the Oulu Art Museum, the exhibition was visited by approximately 17,500 visitors. The exhibition will be on display at the Kuopio Art Museum until 4 March 2018.

“The exhibition is the Ateneum’s gift to our audiences across the country. Making it a reality, together with other Finnish museums, in the centenary year of Finland’s independence, has been rewarding in many ways, and a lot of fun. We have received tremendously enthusiastic feedback from visitors of all ages,” says the museum director Susanna Pettersson.

Classics on Tour 2017 supplemented Stories of Finnish Art – the Ateneum Collection on Tour

In addition to the touring Stories of Finnish Art exhibition, Helene Schjerfbeck’s The Convalescent (1888) and Eero Järnefelt’s Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) (1893) were on display at 11 art museums across Finland. The Convalescent was exhibited in Mariehamn, Tampere, Kokkola, Kemi, Inari and Rauma. Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) was exhibited in Hämeenlinna, Lappeenranta, Joensuu and Jyväskylä. When the works were being exhibited, the museums attracted nearly 45 000 visitors, including a particularly high number of school groups.

Records were broken, especially in the smaller museums. For example, in May, the K.H. Renlund Museum in Kokkola reached a new record, when 2,687 visitors attended the museum during a period of little more than a month. In August, the Lappeenranta Art Museum attracted more than one thousand visitors a week, when the usual number of visitors for a corresponding period is 450 people. In September, the Rauma Art Museum attracted some 500 visitors a week, when the normal visitor count is half that.

The Convalescent, as demonstrated by the record-high visitor numbers, was a very welcome guest in Rauma. The painting was exhibited in the Eino Valtonen collection space alongside other works from the golden age of Finnish art, including Elin Danielson-Gambogi’s Poor Girl”, says Janne Koski, the director of the Rauma Art Museum.

Schjerfbeck’s The Convalescent is already back in its place at the Ateneum and the Stories of Finnish Art exhibition. Järnefelt’s Under the Yoke (Burning the Brushwood) will be back on display at the Ateneum starting from Tuesday 19 December.

Check out the Classics on Tour 2017 website at to read stories about the touring works exhibited at the museums over the year (in Finnish and Swedish).

Photo: The touring Stories of Finnish Art exhibition at the Rovaniemi Art Museum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Pirje Mykkänen

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