Medicis of Mänttä
Classics of the Golden Age from the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation Collection
14 Sep 2012 – 6 Jan 2013
The love for art of the Serlachius industrialist family in Mänttä led to the creation of one of the most impressive art collections in Finland. A selection of the best works from the collection will be on show in Turku Art Museum for the remainder of 2012. The exhibition Medicis of Mänttä – Classics of the Golden Age from the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation Collection offers a unique opportunity to enjoy nearly a hundred classics of the Finnish Golden Age of art. The show also presents a colourful picture of the collection itself and of the patrons of the arts behind it. The last time works from the Gösta Serlachius Foundation were seen in Turku was more than 50 years ago.

A daring businessman and passionate personality, Gustaf Adolf Serlachius (1830–1901) founded a paper empire, but also laid the foundation for the art collection by taking the young artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela under his patronage, an unprecedented relationship in Finland at the time. Another artist Serlachius favoured with his patronage and commissions was sculptor Emil Wikström. Serlachius’ taste in art was tempered by nationalism, and through his financial support he made a significant contribution to the breakthrough of national romanticism in Finnish art. The impressive heritage landscapes and portraits of earthy Finnish commoners that were added later to the collection would undoubtedly have pleased the founder's eye.

The founder’s nephew Gösta Serlachius (1876–1942) continued in his uncle’s footsteps both as a patron and by maintaining active relations with artists. A passionate art collector, Gösta Serlachius followed closely the path of Finnish fine art from national romanticism to the breakthrough of modernism, and added hundreds of works of Finnish and European art to the collection. The central interest in his collecting was nevertheless the works of Gallen-Kallela, who also plays a key role in the exhibition. Other great names of the Golden Age represented in the exhibition include Gunnar Berndtson, Albert Edelfelt, Magnus Enckell, Juho Rissanen, Hugo Simberg, Maria Wiik and Emil Wikström, who are accompanied by masters of the turbulent early 1900s, such as Wäinö Aaltonen, Hannes Autere, Alvar Cawén, Marcus Collin, Eero Nelimarkka and Ellen Thesleff.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full programme of events at Turku Art Museum. The series of special tours of the exhibition starts on Saturday, 20 October, when Dr Tutta Palin will guide the audience into the secrets of portraits. During the next special tour, on Saturday, 29 September, Dr Susanna Petterson will talk about Art collecting in Finland – passion, daring and cultural will. (Notice the changed date, the talk was cancelled on 29. September) The series ends on Saturday, 24 November, when historian Teemu Keskisarja gives a colourful talk on G. A. Serlachius, the hotheaded patron of the golden age. Towards the end of the year, two guided tours will showcase the work of Serlachius’ favourite artist, Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Held on Saturday, 3 November, and Saturday, 1 December, the tours will examine and juxtapose works by Gallen-Kallela from the Serlachius collection and from Turku Art Museum’s collection that are on display simultaneously. The tours and talks are all in Finnish only.

The exhibition Medicis of Mänttä – Classics of the Golden Age from the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation Collection is produced in cooperation with the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation.
Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2019