The Serlachius Museums are the realization of the dream of Gösta Serlachius. Finland’s first paper mill owner established Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation in 1933 with an objective to construct and maintain a museum in Mänttä. The visionary, traveled to museums across the world to learn the ways in vogue to deal with the issues of space, lighting, and heating. Gösta Serlachius did not live to witness the first Serlachius museum in 1945. However, his past endeavors had enough substance to make it the seventh Art foundation in Finland when a part of the Joenniemi manor designed by Jarl Eklund was opened as a museum.
The heart of the collections of the Serlachius Museums comprises of the art collection bequeathed by Gösta Serlachius and antique items related to the glorified history of the paper combine, G.A. Serlachius Ltd. The collection boasts Finnish art classics, old European paintings and also owns a considerable collection of Finnish sculptures. At the time of its inception, the Art foundation consisted of nearly 250 works of art encompassing more than a century of Finnish art history. It should be noted that Gösta Serlachius was not a conservative collector; he had a passion for contemporary art and regularly commissioned new works from artists of his day.
The collections consist of works by artists Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Albert Edelfelt, Hugo Simberg, Eero Järnefelt, Helene Schjerfbeck, Victor Westerholm and Magnus Enckell. Additionally, the sculpture collection includes works by Walter Runeberg, Robert Stigell, Emil Wikström and several other distinguished names. The most venerated 20th-century Finnish artists represented are Tyko Sallinen, Juho Rissanen, Marcus Collin, Lennart Segerstråle, and Alvar Cawén. Moreover, Sculpture from the same period includes works by Hannes Autere, Wäinö Aaltonen, and Jussi Mäntynen. As of 2017, the collections consist of more than 10, 000 cataloged artworks.
The Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation has played an extraordinary role in shaping the aesthetics of the town of Mänttä as nearly all monuments, and public sculptures in the town belong to the collections of the foundation. Furthermore, the Serlachius Museums’ collection includes a treasure trove of archive material from the Serlachius company, including documents, films, photographs and a large collection of architects’ drawings.
Today, the Serlachius Museums, Gösta and Gustaf, offer an incredible contact point for the friends of fine quality art. The art museum Gösta, annually showcases various exhibitions of contemporary art as well as the most distinctive pearls of the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation’s collection. The collection is one of the grandest private art collections in Scandinavia.