Akseli Gallen-Kallela: Lemminkäisen äiti, 1897. Kansallisgalleria / Ateneumin taidemuseo, kok. Antell. Kuva: Kansallisgalleria / Jouko Könönen
Akseli Gallen-Kallela: Lemminkäinen’s Mother, 1897. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, coll. Antell. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jouko Könönen

The Ateneum Art Museum halts the loan of Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s works to Russia

Russia’s military action in Ukraine makes it impossible for the Ateneum Art Museum to loan out works to the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. This means that the cooperation of many years is interrupted, as the safety of the works cannot be guaranteed.

The Ateneum Art Museum, together with the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, has been preparing the first exhibition of works by Akseli Gallen-Kallela in Russia for several years. The State Tretyakov Gallery is one of the largest and most important museums in Russia. The plan was to loan out Gallen-Kallela’s iconic landscape paintings, Kalevala-themed works, and a considerable selection of unique prints from the Finnish National Gallery’s collections for the exhibition.

The Ateneum Art Museum is part of the Finnish National Gallery. One of its key tasks is to make works in its collections, especially Finnish art, available to new audiences. Over the last decade, there has been a strong focus on international cooperation. The importance of culture in maintaining international relations has been important throughout the ages, as art provides an opportunity to stop and explore life in all its forms, including difficult issues.

After the situation between Russia and Ukraine turned into a war on 24 February 2022, the Finnish National Gallery and the Ateneum Art Museum have decided to halt the loan of Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s works to the State Tretyakov Gallery. One of the primary tasks of the Finnish National Gallery is to take care of Finland’s national art collection.

“With ongoing hostilities, we cannot rely on the guaranteed safety of the works. Words of peace have officially turned into acts of war, and this makes it impossible for us to loan out our works”, says Marja Sakari, the museum director of the Ateneum Art Museum. “Our cooperation with the State Tretyakov Gallery has continued for a long time. Both cultural and economic affairs are negatively affected by the war, not to mention the human suffering. We are shocked by the war in Ukraine. We hope for an immediate restoration of dialogue and peace.”

Read our earlier press release of the touring exhibitions