Didrichsen Art Museum – one of the leading art museums in Finland

With its must-see exhibitions, modern Finnish architecture and beautiful surroundings, the Didrichsen Art Museum continues to attract visitors from all over the world.

Didrichsen Art Museum

The museum founders Gunnar (1903-1992) and Marie-Louise (1913-1988) Didrichsen in the museum wing in the 1980´s.

A unique combination of a private residence and an art museum

Situated on the connecting island of Kuusisaari between Helsinki and Espoo, the Didrichsen Art Museum is a unique combination of an art museum and a former private villa by the sea. Designed by internationally acclaimed Finnish architect Viljo Revell, the modernist building was built in two phases, in 1958 and 1964. It was originally meant to be a home with a museum attached.

The Didrichsen Art Museum is the result of Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen‘s love of art. They bought all the artworks together, and each piece was chosen only when they both appreciated the work. Today, the museum holds three exhibitions a year, of both Finnish and modern international art, while also showing pieces from its permanent collections.

The Didrichsen Art Museum Courtyard

Interior of the living room in Villa Didrichsen

Didrichsen Museum of Art and Culture

There are more than a thousand artworks in the Didrichsen Art Museum’s collection, a unique mix of Finnish and international art, as well as artifacts from ancient Oriental and Pre-Columbian cultures. Among the Finnish classics are works by Albert Edelfelt, Helene Schjerfbeck, Pekka Halonen, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Reidar Särestöniemi, Eila Hiltunen and Laila Pullinen. International artists in the collection include Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti and Mark Rothko.

The Didrichsen Art Museum also holds the only Pre-Columbian art collection in Finland, as well as a collection of Oriental art. Their Pre-Columbian collection explores the complex and highly developed Native American cultures of Mesoamerica, a region stretching from Mexico to Costa Rica, and the Andean region of South America, from around 2000 BCE to the 14th century AD. The oriental collection is dominated by Chinese art from the Shang Dynasty, which existed from around 1500 to 1028 BCE, to the Ming Dynasty, from around 1370 to 1644 AD.

View from the museum wing with Henry Moore´s marble sculpture The Archer in the foreground and the bronze sculpture Reclining Figure in the courtyard.

Fernand Léger: Nature morte à la coupe 1948 – from the Didrichsen Collection

Wassily Kandinsky: Eglise à Murnau 1908 – from the Didrichsen Collection

Svenskt Tenn at Didrichsen: Estrid Ericson & Josef Frank – Rethinking design

Josef Frank / Estrid Ericson

One of the summer’s most anticipated exhibitions in Finland is the Svenskt Tenn exhibition at the Didrichsen Art Museum opening on the 25th of May. The exhibition presents the work and history of the classic Swedish interior design company Svenskt Tenn for the first time at an art museum in Finland.

Established in 1924, Svenskt Tenn was started by an inspiring art teacher, stylist, and businesswoman, Estrid Ericson. Together with the Austrian architect and designer Josef Frank, she led the company to become the most elegant interior design store and brand in Sweden.

The summer introduction gives an overview of Svenskt Tenn’s long history, with pieces including interiors, table settings and furniture, accompanied by archive material, fabric models, and patterns. Josef Frank’s watercolours of Stockholm and his travels in Europe, are also on display. A notable stage of the exhibition will be the living room of Villa Didrichsen which will be refurbished as Estrid Ericson’s summer paradise Villa Tolvekarna. The exhibition runs from May 25th through to the 9th of September 2018.

Josef Frank: The Artillerigatan -street in Stockholm, 1963

Didrichsen Sculpture Park

Free to explore and always open to the public, the Didrichsen Sculpture Park surrounds the museum in a beautifully designed garden setting. A unique cultural attraction in Helsinki, it encourages visitors to take a pleasant and contemplative stroll where they can enjoy great art. From its initial design by Viljo Revell, harmony of architecture and nature was essential in creating the Didrichsen Art Museum, and this is best appreciated while strolling the park.

Lionel Smit, Assemble 2016

Tilla Kekki´s Mama Europa and Mama Africa blend in with the beautiful surroundings

Final Thoughts

Helsinki is a city blessed with great art museums, and although a private museum, the Didrichsen Art Museum can lay claim to being one of them. The collection boasts some of the greatest names of the 20th century modern art, alongside the greats in Finnish art, as well as the only Pre-Columbian collection in Finland. The Didrichsen’s location on a wooded island, easily accessible yet secluded, adds to its charm, and the sculpture park surrounding the museum makes it one of Helsinki’s best kept secret attractions, and a must-see for all culture loving visitors.

How to Get There

Getting to the museum is easy, by tram, bus, and metro. From the city centre visitors can take the 4 tram or buses 14, 18, 39, and 206 to Munkkiniemi, and either the 551 or 552 bus on to the museum. Or they can take the metro to Aalto-yliopisto (Aalto University) station, and again catch either the 551 or 552 bus. The 551 bus can also be boarded at Pasila.

During the summer visitors can arrive to the Didrichsen Art Museum via a ferry that leaves from Helsinki Market Square in the harbour. This allows for a 50 minute cruise through the western archipelago of Helsinki, before arriving on the peaceful island of Kuusisaari. Just a little ways down from the pier lies Didrichsen’s neighbour, the Villa Gyllenberg Art Museum. Private boats can also dock there.