The Didrichsen Art Museum is a unique combination of an art museum and a former private home by the seaside, on Kuusisaari island in Helsinki. The museum holds two to three exhibitions a year, varying from Finnish art to modern international art. The sculpture park surrounding the museum is always open.
The museum is the result of a love of art. All pieces are bought by Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen together. It was important to them that they both liked the artworks.
The collection consists of Finnish art from the 20th century among others Edelfelt, Cawén, Schjerfbeck, Särestöniemi, Linnovaara, Hiltunen and Pullinen. In the modern international art collection there are works by: Picasso, Kandinsky, Miró, Léger, Moore, Giacometti and Arp.
The museum also holds Finland’s only Pre-Columbian art collection and a collection of Oriental art. With Pre-Columbian art we understand complex and highly developed American Indian cultures in Mesoamerica and the Andean area of South America from 2000 B.C. to the 14th century A.D.
The following Mesoamerican cultures are represented in the collection: Olmec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Mixtec, Huastec, Maya, Aztec and cultures of Western Mexico and Central Veracruz. From the Andean area: e.g. Chavin, Paracas, Nasca, Moche and Inca.
The oriental art collection is dominated by Chinese art from the Shang-dynasty (abt 1500-1028) B.C. to the Ming-dynasty (1368-1644). The collection also includes art from the Far and Near East.
Villa Didrichsen was designed by architect Viljo Revell (1910-1965) in 1958-59. Six year later the art collection was placed in a new annex connected to the villa. In the cosy museum art and architecture meet with the surrounding nature. The garden is not filled with sweet flowers but instead with sculptures such as Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure on Pedestal (1960), Atom Piece (1964) and Eila Hiltunen’s Crescendo with the dedication words: “In Memoriam Marie-Louise Didrichsen”.
When Viljo Revell worked as Alvar Aalto’s assistant he accepted a modest and humanistic modernism. From his early romantic styled architecture he soon emerged towards rationalism. Developing an even stricter rationalism in the 50’s he soon followed his master Le Corbusier‘s example.
Just at that time there was a new concrete wave in England called brutalism. The concrete was not smoothened or covered-up but instead it was left bare so that the tracks of the mots could be seen. This style is characterized by horisontalism. All overdimensioned and heavy forms step forward when again the supplements are left behind the frontier.