FINNISH VISUAL ARTS
The Didrichsen 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. Works by Pekka Halonen, Helene Schjerfbeck, Reidar Särestöniemi, Laila Pullinen and many more can be found in the collections.
Photos: Jussi Pakkala unless otherwise stated.
Gunnar and Marie-Louise Didrichsen bought their first artwork by Helene Schjerfbeck in 1962. The Schjerfbeck collection consists of totally 19 works. The collection includes several major works by the artist, especially from her late period.
Portraits play a central role in the artist´s production. They crystallize her pursuit for a simplified, independent and more painterly picture. In the modernistic portraits, she is not striving for likeness, but merely to catch an impression of light, form and colour, where details are in less focus. Schjerfbeck was influenced not only by European modernism, but also by Japanese art.
Lapland, in the northern part of Finland, and art, linked the artist Reidar Särestöniemi with the Didrichsen family. The founders of the Didrichsen Art Museum Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen visited Lapland frequently, where each had a cabin of their own. The first time the couple visited the studio of Särestöniemi was at the end of the 1960s. The visits grew to a life-long friendship which lasted until the artist passed away in 1981. The contact between Särestöniemi and the Didrichsen Art Museum and the support shown by the Didrichsen couple was of considerable importance for the artist. During the 1970s the museum arranged as many as four exhibitions of his production.
TYKO SALLINEN AND THE NOVEMBER GROUP
Early Finnish expressionism plays a significant role in the Didrichsen collection. The collection includes works by Tyko Sallinen, Jalmari Ruokokoski, Alvar Cawén and Marcus Collin. Gunnar and Marie-Louise Didrichsen bought their first Sallinen in the 1950s, soon after the decease of the artist. The collection contains nine paintings by Sallinen, of which several are from his years of artistic transition in the middle of 1910s.
MODERNISTS AND NEW ACQUISITIONS
Starting from the 1960s Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen were increasingly interested in Finnish and international modernism. In addition to works by early 20th century modernists the couple bought works from artists of their own time. Many of the artists became friends of the family and also exhibited in the museum. Nowadays new works are acquired mainly joint with the exhibitions held in the museum.