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THE ART COLLECTIONS
The art collections of the Museum of Ostrobothnia contain approximately 8,000 works in total. The art collection is made up of four units, of which Karl Hedman’s collection is the most significant.
The Ostrobothnian Museum Collection
The Ostrobothnian Museum Collection is the museum’s first art collection. It includes both Ostrobothnian ecclesiastical art from the 1700s and modern Finnish visual art. The collection’s emphasis is on works by Ostrobothnian artists and by other artists who have depicted Ostrobothnia in various ways.
Also included in the collection are the donation in memory of Anne-Marie Cronström and a donation by the Savings Bank of Finland. The collection grows annually with the addition of private donations and the purchase of individual artworks or artwork series.
The City of Vaasa Collection
The beginnings of the City of Vaasa collection were in 1913, when a newly founded municipal committee began to buy fine art on the city's behalf. Already in that first year, the committee bought Eero Järnefelt's portrait of his wife Saimi and daughter Leena in the garden.
The collection still continues to expand, and many newly acquired works are immediately given a place in the city space in the form of public statues. Besides Finnish visual art, the collection also includes international graphic artworks, which have been acquired through the museum's international graphics exhibitions.
The Karl Hedman Collection
The Karl Hedman collection consists of the works of art, furniture and cultural history items which Hedman collected together with his wife Elin Hedman. Since the couple’s death, The Hedman Foundation and the City of Vaasa have contributed to the expansion of the collection. The art collection, which consists of approximately 800 works, contains a representative selection of Finnish visual art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, as well as international art from the Renaissance period up until the 19th century. Artworks from the collection are on display in the permanent exhibition on the Hedman Floor.
To begin with, Karl Hedman collected furniture, jewellery, porcelain and ceramics, but he began to focus his collecting on works of visual art after the turn of the 20th century. He became interested in the contemporary art of the period and kept direct contact with the artists of the time.
In 1909, Hedman bought three paintings which deviated from the previous art purchases both in terms of painting technique and time period. The paintings were Pekka Halonen’s Home from work (1907), Verner Thomé’s Schoolyard (1907) and Magnus Enckell’s Midsummer’s Night at Eckerö (1907). In 1912, Hedman went on a short trip to Italy, where he bought Burning City, painted by Herri met de Bles (circa 1480-1550).
As it turned out, the trip was to be Hedman’s only visit to Italy, but he continued to buy international art through art dealers. The art collection continued to grow, largely owing to Hedman’s contact with art dealer Gösta Stenman. Part of Stenman’s collection of Finnish art passed into Hedman’s possession. This collection, which includes, among other works, 36 works by Tyko Sallinen and 12 by Helene Schjerfbeck, is often called the Stenman deposit. The Hedman collection became the property of the City of Vaasa in 1998. The collection continues to expand today, with the financial support of the Hedman Foundation.
The Vaasa Art Association Collection
The Vaasa Art Association collection also passed into the hands of the City of Vaasa in 1998. The association itself was founded in 1917 for the purpose of establishing an art museum in Vaasa. Thanks to the work of the association, works by Helene Schjerfbeck, Hugo Simberg and Wäinö Aaltonen were on exhibit in Vaasa over a five year period. The art collection grew as the association purchased artworks from the exhibitions and received donated works, as well as works bequeathed to the association in wills. One of the association’s members, Waldemar Churberg, donated paintings by his sister, Fanny Churberg. Another member, Gustav Beltzner, left all of his private collection to the association in his will in 1966.
It was the particular desire of the association to buy the work of Vaasa artists; therefore works by Frans Hiivanainen, Fanny Churberg, Carl Johan Danielson, Lea Ignatius and Carl Nyman Wargh were acquired for the collection.
The collection continues to grow with the financial support of Vaasa Art Association and according to the museum's acquisition policy.