Women to the fore
The Bank of Finland’s art collection forms a unique and comprehensive work of art, in itself. This does not mean uniformity of style or acquisitions, rather it means works that tell unexpected details about Finnish art, beginning in the period of Finnish autonomy under the Russian Empire up to today.
From monumental installations, such as Juho Rissanen’s stained glass windows, to Rut Bryk’s ceramic relief, these works illustrate the Bank’s aim of updating the working environment to reflect the times through the introduction of prominent art works of their day. The significant art commissions of the post-war years were from female artists such as Bryk, Dora Jung and Eva Anttila. It is now high time that their textile and ceramic works were placed where they deserve to be, at the forefront of visual art history. These are not industrial designs, rather they are distinct, pioneering art works in the same way as the works of artists such as Sam Vanni or Juhana Blomstedt.
In 1876, the Bank of Finland launched Finland’s first international architectural competition in order to find an architect with a vision for the Bank’s new Head Office. The winning design was submitted by Ludwig Bohnstedt, and drew on a fluid combination of several styles, giving rise to a “free-form Romanesque-Renaissance” building. Bohnstedt’s eclectic plans have stood the test of time and met the Bank’s changing requirements, as well as surviving alterations forced on it by the scars of the Second World War, to say nothing of the large extension that was later added to it. Perhaps it is the building’s multi-sourced roots that provide even the newest pieces in the Bank’s broadly-based art collection with a secure position in this historic setting.
Curator of the exhibition
Greetings from the Governor
The Bank of Finland’s sizeable art collection has been gathered over a considerable period of time. The first pieces acquired as part of what was to become the Bank’s collection were drawn from the art of the 1920s and 1930s, and the first notable work was Juha Rissanen’s Triptych in stained glass. Lennart Segerstråle’s frescos were painted for the Bank at the beginning of the 1940s and Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s Aino-Triptych was added to the collection in 1950.
Since then, the Bank has gradually but steadily added to its collection. We have wanted to acquire works by known, working Finnish artists. Our collection was first opened to the public in 2011, when the Bank of Finland celebrated its 200th anniversary. In 2014, the exhibition was organised once more when our newest additions were put on display. In the 2017 opening of our collection to the public, as part of the nation’s centenary year, we are featuring works of art that illustrate landmarks in Finland’s 100 years of independence.
Members of the Bank of Finland’s art club as well as other members of the Bank’s staff have volunteered to be guides, adding their own value to the Bank’s treasures, and thereby enabling us to bring these works of art to a wider audience. Through exactly this kind of open doors event, we both raise the value of the collection to new heights, and bring it to a broader public awareness.
Governor of the Bank of Finland