City of Art Collectors and Patrons

Vaasa is known for its notable art collectors who, over the years, have had a significant influence on the establishment of various art collections and museums. The National Museum of Finland and the Ostrobothnian Museum would be quite different today if it weren’t for these benefactors. In addition, some other art museums in Vaasa have been created on the basis of private collections.

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Herman Frithiof Antell

Born in Vaasa in 1847, Herman Frithiof Antell was one of the most generous benefactors in Finnish cultural history. Antell was a licentiate of medicine who inherited the majority of his foster father Herman Rosenberg’s huge property in 1874. Rosenberg’s riches had come from currency speculation, among other things, and he had built himself a house according to plans drawn up by C. A. Setterberg, situated at the northern end of Koulukatu in the new town of Vaasa. Read more…

Karl Hedman

Karl Hedman invested any spare resources he had on art and antiques and was often helped by the Helsinki-based merchants Valter Sjöberg and Gösta Stenman. He bought outstanding pieces of Finnish art from the golden age, but also European paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, Nordic silver, European porcelain and a wide selection of furniture and items made for the gentry. Read more…

Frithiof Tikanoja

Koulukatu in Vaasa is also the home of the Tikanoja Art Museum, whose collection of over a thousand works was originally a personal home collection. Born in 1877, Frithjof Tikanoja was one of the founders of the Lassila-Tikanoja company. Tikanoja’s collection includes some important French paintings from the 19th and early 20th centuries from artists such as Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Read more…

Simo Kuntsi

Simo Kuntsi was passionate about modern art and, at first, bought paintings for his home collection until every bit of wall was covered in art. On the suggestion of the headmaster of the Vaasa Commercial College, some of his collection was placed on school walls, where they could be seen by everyone. In the end, the collection of the Kuntsi Foundation was placed in the old customs house in Vaasa’s Inner Harbour, which became the Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art. Read more…

Lars Swanljung

One of most noteworthy collectors of modern Finnish art today is the Vaasa-born dentist Lars Swanljung. Currently living in Helsinki, Swanljung began collecting art actively in the early 1990s. He has paid particular attention to the activities of young Finnish artists and acquired their works for his collection, which now also includes modern Nordic pieces; for example, an interesting collection of Icelandic art. Read more…