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Marie-Louise Hampusdotter Granfelt was born as the second daughter of Hampus Granfeltin and Hanna (neé. Henriksson) in Helsinki 19.2.1913. The father Hampus was doctor which meant that the family of the lived an travelled around in Finland. Marie-Louise studied in Svenska Handelshögskolan and was appointed as an office manager for Hortus Ltd.

Danish Gunnar Didrichsen was born in Copenhagen in 9.9.1903. He was the son on a shipping entrepreneur and first came to Finland for a business trip in 1927. Only three months later he founded his own importing company Transmeri Ltd and decided to stay in the country. 


Marie-Louise and Gunnar met for the first time on Independence day in 1938 when they went to see the operet Axel i sjunde himlen. They were married in April 1939, only a few months after the first date. They had four children; Jon 1945, Hans 1949, Peter 1950 and Ann Marie 1953.


Both Marie-Louise and Gunnar were interested in art and art collecting. The couple started collecting in the 1940s with a focus on Finnish visual arts from the years 1880–1910.  Their first joint purchase was the painting Meal (1899) by Pekka Halonen, which they bought in 1942. In the 1960s they showed an increasing interest towards modernism.

The Didrichsen Art Museum was constructed in two phases, and both sections were designed by architect Viljo Revell. The first building was completed in 1957. The Didrichsen family moved from the center of Helsinki to Kuusisaari the following year, 1958.

Part of the collections, the estate and building were donated to a foundation, which was established in 1963 by the Didrichsen couple. In 1964 the museum wing was completed, which enabled these art lovers to share their collection with a wider audience. The museum opened its doors in 1965.

Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen's ashes are buried on the museums property. Arvo Siikamäki's sculpture Empty Grave marks their resting place. 


Arvo Siikamäki: Empty grave
Photo: Maria Didrichsen

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