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Art museums in Helsinki: city guide

Helsinki is a paradise for art lovers; works by the best national and international artists are displayed year-round in the city’s magnificent museums

City Guide
Susan Fourtané,

The Ateneum is a definite must-visit; you will never be disappointed and will always want to return. The museum is home to Finland’s largest collection of art from the 1750s to the 1950s, including much-loved Finnish classic masterpieces such as the works of Gallen-Kallela and Helene Schjerfbeck. Ateneum’s 2012 season is packed with great exhibitions, starting with In search of the good life, an exhibition of works by Carl Larsson (1853-1919), Sweden’s most celebrated painter, followed by the 150th anniversary celebration of Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946), whose works and story should not be missed. For the first time, Schjerfbeck’s paintings that reference El Greco will be displayed alongside two original works by the Spanish master. The season culminates with an international selection of Symbolist landscape paintings featuring works by 52 artists; it will be the most significant exhibition of art by Van Gogh and Gauguin ever held in Finland.

Ateneum, Kaivokatu 2, 00100 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 6122 5510

Located in the heart of Helsinki, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in a striking contemporary building, offers interesting and invigorating art of our time. Kiasma’s programme for 2012 includes exhibitions presenting Finnish and international contemporary art, performances in the Kiasma Theatre, workshops, seminars and lectures. From March to September young comic artists offer a 3D exhibition, Eyeballing! Contemporary Finnish comics have blossomed in the last five years; Kiasma presents an opportunity to discover surreal works that have already become popular in France. From June to October, as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012, the Camouflage exhibition will explore the dialogue between contemporary art and design. The artworks and objects on show allude to disguise, blending into one’s surroundings, posing as someone or something other than oneself. If thought-provoking, conceptual art moves you, this exhibition should not be missed.

Kiasma, Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki, + 358 (0)9 1733 6501


Bulevardi is one of the most beautiful streets in Helsinki and it is on Bulevardi where the equally elegant Sinebrychoff art museum can be found, the only museum in Finland to specialise in classic European art. The main building was designed by architect Jean Wiik and completed in 1842. The fascinating permanent collections are mainly donations by art collectors. The oldest donation was made by Tsar Alexander II of Russia in the name of his son, the Grand Duke of Finland, and dates from 1851. The 20 collections of foreign art include Dutch 17th-century schools, Italian Renaissance paintings, French, Spanish and English works from the 17th and 18th centuries as well as Swedish 18th-century portraiture. There is also an incredible collection of miniatures that belong to the Sinebrychoff family. Until 29 April, the museum presents the graphic etchings of Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) from the unique Rovinsky collection of the State Hermitage Museum. All the 55 works exhibited belong to the graphics collection of a Russian Master of Law, Dmitry Rovinsky and this is the first time the works have been seen outside Russia. The graphics include biblical and mythological themes as well as landscapes and portraits.

Sinebrychoff, Bulevardi 40, 00120 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 1733 6462

The Didrichsen Art Museum is one of the most interesting museums in Helsinki. The artworks were bought by Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen, two art lovers who collected Finnish art from the 20th century, including works by Edelfelt, Cawén, Schjerfbeck, Särestöniemi, Linnovaara, Hiltunen and Pullinen. In addition to Finnish artists, the modern international art collection includes works by Picasso, Kandinsky, Miró, Léger, Moore, Giacometti and Arp. The musem also houses art from the world’s ancient civilisations, including the pre-Columbian, South American and Oriental.

Didrichsen, Kuusilahdenkuja 1, 00340, Helsinki, +358 (9) 477 8330


Amos Anderson
The Amos Anderson Art Museum is located in Kamppi, in the centre of Helsinki. It is the largest private art museum in Finland, with around 6,000 artworks. These are mainly paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and photographs, although the collection also includes textiles, furniture, glass, and ceramic objects from Amos Anderson’s home. The museum’s collection includes contemporary and more traditional art, mainly Finnish and international art from the 20th century; some of the oldest art works belonged to Amos Anderson’s personal collection, a total of 250 paintings, sculptures, prints and medal art. This spring the museum will show three different exhibitions beside the regular collections.

Amos Anderson, Yrjönkatu 27, 00100 Helsinki, +358 (0)9 684 4460



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