Collection of prints
The first ever Finnish print, Flower of Death (1895) by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, was donated to Ateneum by the artist himself soon after printing. From the year 1900, the museum began acquiring works by the pioneers of Finnish printmaking. Today the museum collection includes just about perfect sets of Gallen-Kallela’s, Albert Edelfelt’s and Hugo Simberg’s graphic works.
The second and third decades of the 20th century were a period of few acquisitions, but the 1930s saw a boom of Finnish printmaking, and this was also reflected in the growing number of prints purchased. From the 1950s, Finnish prints began making up a considerable part of the museum’s yearly acquisitions.
The latest notable additions to the collection have been donations. In 2001 the museum received the whole life’s work of printmaker Aune Mikkonen, donated by the artist herself. In 2003 the estate of Helmi Kuusi donated around a hundred prints and over two hundred sketchbooks. Works of printmaker Lea Ignatius were also donated to Ateneum following an exhibition of her work in 2003. A significant addition to the collection of modern European prints was the donation of the Ester and Jalo Sihtola Fine Arts Foundation in 2001, while the donation of the Rolando and Siv Pieraccini collection in 2008 has international significance with its over 600 examples of Italian 20th-century printmaking.
Artists featured in Ateneum’s collection of prints include Lauri Ahlgrén, Tuomas von Boehm, Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Ina Colliander, Albert Edelfelt, James Ensor, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Paul Gauguin, Simo Hannula, Pentti Kaskipuro, Pentti Lumikangas, Henri Matisse, Ernst Mether-Borgström, Edvard Munch, Teuvo-Pentti Pakkala, Pablo Picasso, Tuulikki Pietilä, Ulla Rantanen, Hugo Simberg, Ellen Thesleff, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Eduard Wiiralt.