Per Stenius Gallery

Stenius, Per Anders (born 21/11 1922 Helsinki, died there 18/6 2014), He represents the post-war modernist generation, who began to travel outside Finland's borders. Stenius visited India, among others. His paintings are in the border between abstract and imaginative art. The term lyrical abstraction has been used to describe Stenius art. The lyrical abstraction is considered to be a counterweight to concreteism in the non-imaginative art. In his self-portrait, Stenius is more inward than outward, and the work may imagine an inner world, rather than convey a resemblance to the model. The color world is powerful, and creates the impression of an artist who is brave enough to follow his artistic vision.


Stenius studied 1945-47 at the Free Art School and has studied studies among others. to southern europe and india Already his first separate expo 1950 showed him as a master of the nuance both in pictures with clear nature motifs and more abstract, often cube-influenced compositions. Stenius also belongs to the first painters who worked completely abstract in Finland, although he never acknowledged belonging to any direction of style; The only thing he tries to follow is, according to himself, "harmonious universal laws". Rejecting all the new isms, he has consistently continued to develop his intuitive sensitivity to what he perceives primarily in the landscape, than from Lapland, than from India. His compositions, which occasionally border with the informal, are characterized by a subdued color scale and a lyrical sound.

He belonged to the artists in Finland who dared to cope with a completely non-figurative painting at the earliest. Later, however, it returned figuratively in his art.



The Ateneum Art Museum has the country’s oldest and largest art collection.








Stories of Finnish Art illustrates the development of art in Finland from 1809 until the 1970s. At the exhibition, the story of Finnish art is juxtaposed with international developments in art and contemporary social events. On display, side by side, are Finnish and international masterpieces from our collections, such as Le Corbusier’s Two Women (1939), Hugo Simberg’s The Wounded Angel (1903), Edvard Munch’s Bathing Men (1907–08), and Ilya Repin’s Portrait of Natalia Nordmann (1900).


The works on display in the new halls of modern art highlight the post-Second World War reconstruction period and the emergent media society. The exhibition will feature paintings, sculptures and prints by Finnish and foreign artists such as Anitra Lucander, Unto Pusa, Ulla Rantanen, Anita Snellman and Sam Vanni. Prints by foreign artists will be exhibited on a regularly changing basis. The exhibition will also include Eino Ruutsalo’s experimental films and advertisements.


The letters, sketchbooks, postcards and photographs on display in the archive hall vividly illustrate the daily lives of the artists. The dense, salon exhibition style recalls the history of the building, going back more than a century.


The exhibition team includes Susanna Pettersson, Museum Director; Timo Huusko, Chief Curator, Collections; Anu Utriainen, Curator; Erkki Anttonen, Special Researcher, Collections; Hanna-Leena Paloposki, Archive and Library Manager; and Riitta Ojanperä, Collections Management Director. The imaginative and memorable exhibition architecture has been created by Marcel Schmalgemeijer from the Netherlands and the spatial graphic design by Mariëlle Tolenaar.



Read more about the themes of the exhibition



A multimedia presentation of Helene Schjerfbeck’s works on paper, based on digital presentation technologies of Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd (DNP), features as a permanent part of the exhibition. These watercolours, drawings and prints from Ateneum’s collections are highly sensitive to light and can only rarely be placed on display in an exhibition.



The exhibition publication, Stories of Finnish Art, contains 16 articles by art experts introducing the main topics of the exhibition. The book also includes five short stories based on the collection. They are written by Riikka Ala-Harja, Juha Itkonen, Heidi Köngäs, Sirpa Kähkönen and Matti Rönkä. The book is available in Finnish, Swedish and English from the museum shop or the webshop.



Ateneum is offering six special themed guided tours as part of the exhibition. The tours and the accompanying learning materials are linked with the exhibition themes and are designed on the basis of the new national basic education curriculum.



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Ateneum Art Museum houses the largest collection of paintings and sculptures in Finland. There are a total of over 4,300 paintings and over 750 sculptures. Ateneum’s collections showcase the development of Finnish art all the way from 18th-century rococo portraiture to the experimental art movements of the 20th century.



Portraits and hunting scenes of the Romantic period, landscapes by artists of the Düsseldorf School, turn-of-the-century Parisian influences, the beginnings of realism, symbolism and the masterpieces of the Golden Age lead us into the beginning of the 20th century which witnessed an expansion in the range of artistic expression.



Art is always in constant dialogue with its social surroundings. International influences are reflected in Finnish expressionism, impressionism, cubism and surrealism. Ateneum’s collections extend to the work of artists who began their career in the 1950s, and the most recent works of art in the collection are from the early 21st century.



Ateneum Art Museum is a part of the Finnish National Gallery together with the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum. The Collections web service of the Finnish National Gallery provides basic information on the works and artists represented in the collections of these museums.



The collection was initiated a couple of years after the Finnish Art Society had been established in 1846. The society itself acquired a few works considered worthy of the collection, while it also accepted donations of one or more works. A part of the donations was pure financial support. Interest from private testamentary funds provided great relief for the society struggling on a tight budget.



In 1863, the collection managed by the Finnish Art Society was first put on permanent public display. In 1864, the government began to purchase model works for the society’s drawing school on state funds. The Ateneum building itself, dubbed a “Palace of a million marks” by its contemporaries, was completed in 1887, and the Finnish Art Society’s collections were first exhibited in its rooms on 13 October 1888. The name Ateneum alludes to the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare, Pallas Athene. She was also a protector of cities and government. Ateneum means a temple or shrine to Athene.



The most notable donation at the turn of the twentieth century was made by Licentiate of Medicine Herman Frithiof Antell, who not only donated the whole of his collection but also the funds for regular acquisitions. The Antell Collection includes works by van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Edvard Munch, choices questioned by his contemporaries – to them the Finnish Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Albert Edelfelt, and Hugo Simberg seemed so much safer options.



The museum’s own acquisition committee concentrated on purchasing Finnish art. Sometimes, however, their funds were not even adequate for that. Towards the late 1920s the museum expressed its concern that there would be serious gaps in their Finnish collection.



The 1950s and 60s saw a campaign to raise the Ateneum to a standard European level, and one way of achieving this was thought to be the purchase of international contemporary art. The number of acquisitions, however, was no bigger than that in the beginning of the century. The emphasis was still on Finnish art, as befits a national gallery.



During the first half of the twentieth century the museum received several important donations, but then things changed. Social structure was established, and hopes for an economic boom replaced the insecurity of the war era. On the other hand, the time of extensive donations seemed to be over. The museum had already received a large collection of works by turn-of-the-century masters.



The Ateneum Art Museum adds to its collection every year. The first major acquisition after the museum was placed under government administration was an early self-portrait by Helene Schjerfbeck, purchased with support from the Friends of Ateneum.



In recent years, Ateneum has once again received some notable donations from private individuals as well. Such donations include the Ester and Jalo Sihtola Fine Arts Foundation collection, the Yrjö and Nanny Kaunisto Collection and the Rolando and Siv Pieraccini Collection.