Helsinki City Art Museum is putting on its annual exhibition of the Leonard and Katarina Bäcksbacka collection. The Bäcksbacka collection is the foundation of the City Art Museum's art collection. The exhibition will tour the history of 20th century Finnish art and have a peek of its contemporary French art. This year, the exhibition will include a special selection of paintings with a bright palette from, for example, the Prisma group, which represent a post-Second World War reaction to the earthier concept of colour of the Marraskuun ryhmä or November group of artists.
Art collectors most often concentrate on a particular art movement or period. Leonard Bäcksbacka (1892–1963) and his wife Katarina (1894–1976) loved 20th century Finnish art. They were particularly fascinated with Marcus Collin, Jalmari Ruokokoski, Tyko Sallinen, Ragnar Ekelund, Alvar Cawén and Ellen Thesleff.
Leonard Bäcksbacka started his career while still a student by organising exhibitions of his artist-friends' works in his home and selling them to friends and acquaintances. In 1915 Bäcksbacka founded a gallery –Taidesalonki (art salon) – and became a professional dealer. By dealing successfully in older art and antiques, he was able to display the kind of contemporary art that he preferred in his gallery and also build and maintain his own collection.
Leonard Bäcksbacka's purpose was always to donate his collection to a museum for public access, but he never saw his dream fulfilled. After his death, his wife Katarina continued to add to the collection, and following her death in 1976, their heirs donated 448 works of art from the collection to the City of Helsinki. The City built the galleries in Meilahti for the purpose of displaying them. The donated works were carefully picked from the main Bäcksbacka collection to be as representative and comprehensive an overview as possible of the period.
In the exhibition, special attention will be paid to provide an art experience that is multisensory and easily accessible. The exhibition will include descriptive guided tours for the visually impaired. Sculptures may also be explored by touch during all guided tours.
Admission to the exhibition will be free.
Guided tours: Guided tours free of charge in Finnish on Wednesdays at 17 o'clock and Sundays at 14 o'clock and in Swedish on the Sundays of 21 Jan, 28 Jan and 4 Feb at 16 o'clock. To book a private tour or a tour in another language, please call +358 9 310 87003.