Stories of Finnish Art

Stories of Finnish Art - Ateneum's collection display. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen

The collections exhibition presents classics with a twist

The Ateneum Art Museum has the country’s oldest and largest art collection. The collections exhibition presents well-loved classics alongside seldom-exhibited works of art. It draws new parallels and highlights works that have not been on show for a long time.

Stories of Finnish Art illustrates the development of art in Finland from 1809 until the 1970s. At the exhibition, the story of Finnish art is juxtaposed with international developments in art and contemporary social events. On display, side by side, are Finnish and international masterpieces from our collections, such as Le Corbusier’s Two Women (1939), Hugo Simberg’s The Wounded Angel (1903), Edvard Munch’s Bathing Men (1907–08), and Ilya Repin’s Portrait of Natalia Nordmann (1900).

The works on display in the halls of modern art highlight the post-Second World War reconstruction period and the emergent media society. The exhibition will feature paintings, sculptures and prints by Finnish and foreign artists such as Anitra Lucander, Unto Pusa, Ulla Rantanen, Anita Snellman and Sam Vanni. Prints by foreign artists will be exhibited on a regularly changing basis. The exhibition will also include Eino Ruutsalo’s experimental films and advertisements.

The letters, sketchbooks, postcards and photographs on display in the archive hall vividly illustrate the daily lives of the artists. The dense, salon exhibition style recalls the history of the building, going back more than a century.

The exhibition team includes Susanna Pettersson, Museum Director; Timo Huusko, Chief Curator, Collections; Anu Utriainen, Curator; Erkki Anttonen, Special Researcher, Collections; Hanna-Leena Paloposki, Archive and Library Manager; and Riitta Ojanperä, Collections Management Director. The imaginative and memorable exhibition architecture has been created by Marcel Schmalgemeijer from the Netherlands and the spatial graphic design by Mariëlle Tolenaar.

Exhibition’s themes

Read more about the themes of the exhibition

Stories of Finnish Art short films

Ateneum has produced 13 short films of the most beloved artworks of its collection. Watch the films

A book about Akseli Gallen-Kallela in the Artists of the Ateneum series

The richly illustrated book places Gallen-Kallela’s art in the European context and presents the artist’s fascinating life. The book is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. Read more

A touch screen display of Schjerfbeck’s paper works forms part of the exhibition

A multimedia presentation of Helene Schjerfbeck’s works on paper, based on digital presentation technologies of Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd (DNP), features as a permanent part of the exhibition. These watercolours, drawings and prints from Ateneum’s collections are highly sensitive to light and can only rarely be placed on display in an exhibition.

A catalogue with short stories by leading writers and articles by art experts

The exhibition publication, Stories of Finnish Art, contains 16 articles by art experts introducing the main topics of the exhibition. The book also includes five short stories based on the collection. They are written by Riikka Ala-Harja, Juha Itkonen, Heidi Köngäs, Sirpa Kähkönen and Matti Rönkä. The book is available in Finnish, Swedish and English from the museum shop or the webshop.

A selection of themed guided tours for schools

Ateneum is offering six special themed guided tours as part of the exhibition. The tours and the accompanying learning materials are linked with the exhibition themes and are designed on the basis of the new national basic education curriculum. To support and supplement the tours, Ateneum has produced online materials consisting of images of the works, features, topics and tips for discussion, and exercises. The price of the guided tours for schools is 70 euros. The guided tours are also available not only to school classes but also other groups.

Free guided tours to the exhibition

Read more about free guided tours

Exhibition is supported by Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd (DNP).

NOTE! Its status as a national gallery requires the Ateneum Art Museum to lend its works to other museums in Finland and abroad, and this is one of the reasons why the selection of works on display in Ateneum varies to some extent.

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