The 20th Century! Picasso, Dali, Léger and more from the Didrichsen Collection
Paintings and sculptures by the 20th century’s most famous artists will fill Millesgården Art
Gallery this summer. The heading cites three of the some 50 artists presented in the exhibition, who contributed to making the 20th century the century of the art experiment, when art movements replaced one another and painters and sculptors expanded the boundaries of the very concept of art.
A generous loan from the Didrichsen Museum in Helsinki has enabled Millesgården to present an exhibition of sculptures by Henry Moore, Niki de Saint Phalle, Alberto Giacometti and Alexander Calder in addition to paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Emil Nolde and Sonia Delaunay.
In the 1940s, when the founders of the museum, Marie-Louise (1913-1988) and Gunnar (1903-1992) Didrichsen, began to collect art, their focus was Finnish National Romanticism
including works by Albert Edefeldt and Axeli Gallen-Kallela. Helene Schjerfbeck’s painting awoke a passion in them which led to a collection within the collection of Schjerfbeck’s work. The artist’s discriminating painting also brought with it an interest in more contemporary art, both Finnish and international. With the acquisition of expressionists, surrealists and modernist sculpture the Didrichsens’ collecting gained new focus. Sculptor Henry Moore was perhaps their most important contact. He became a close friend of the family and today the Didrichsen Museum holds the largest collection of Henry Moore sculptures in Europe outside the United Kingdom.
That which today is the Didrichsen Art Museum was designed in 1957 by architect Viljo Revell as a family residence where their art collection was also displayed. The collection grew and after a new wing was added the art museum opened in 1965. Since 1993, the entire property has been
used for museum activities. The modernist building in 1950s style lacks a clear separation between private residence and museum.
As collectors, Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen’s ambition was not to provide an overview of modernism. Their starting point was to purchase art they both appreciated and the collection thus reflects their personal taste. In addition to 20th-century art, the collection also comprises prehistoric Asian collections and pre-Columbian art. Today the Didrichsen Museum houses more than a thousand works. The selection on display in the exhibition at Millesgården focuses on
Josef Albers, Karel Appel, Jean Arp, César Baldaccini, Alexander Calder, Sergio de Camargo, Lynn Chadwick, Salvador Dalí, Sonia Delaunay, Albert Edelfelt, Max Ernst, Sam Francis, Akseli
Gallen-Kallela, Alberto Giacometti, Pekka Halonen, Hans Hartung, Henry Heerup, Barbara Hepworth, Gottfried Honegger, Paul Jenkins, Asger Jorn, Eero Järnefelt, Wassily Kandinsky, Yves Klein, Franz Kline, Ahti Lavonen, Fernand Léger, André Lhote, Roy Lichtenstein, Lubertus Lucebert, Marino Marini, Henri Michaux, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Emil Nolde, Carl-Henning Pedersen, Pablo Picasso, Serge Poliakoff, Robert Rauschenberg, Auguste Renoir, Mark Rothko, Georges Rouault, Niki de Saint Phalle, Laila Pullinen, Helene Schjerfbeck, Hugo Simberg, Antoni Tàpies, Esko Tirronen, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Maurice Utrillo, Andy Warhol and Victor Vasarely.