The Lappeenranta Art Museum collection

The Lappeenranta Art Museum collections focus on contemporary art from South-Eastern Finland from the 1960s to the present and visual arts from the ceded Karelian Isthmus and Viipuri. The collections have been built since 1965. The first collection purchase was Unto Pusa’s The Three Graces (Kolme Sulotarta) from the artist’s solo exhibition in Lappeenranta in early 1966.

The collection of older Finnish art emphasises the legacy of the ceded Karelia and Viipuri, where the third national centre for visual artists, a drawing school maintained by the Viipuri Friends of Art Association, was located before the Second World War. Paintings, drawings and graphics depicting the ceded Viipuri area and Karelian Isthmus landscapes have been acquired in the collections over the years. Artworks have been purchased and received as donations.

The oldest collection works are from the 18th century, including Petter Lang’s Last Judgment (Viimeinen tuomio, the altarpiece of Käkisalmi Church). There are few works from the 19th and early 20th century, but together with the deposit works of the Karelian communities, the whole is coherent. The collections consider the contribution of artists who have influenced or were born in Viipuri.

Art from South-Eastern Finland is one of the main focuses of the modern art collections. Finnish contemporary art after the 1960s forms the majority of collections in quantitative terms. The collections include works by Leena Luostarinen, Ulla Rantanen, Juho Karjalainen, the Taideahtaajat group, Annu Vertanen, Anne Tompuri, Pentti Kaskipuro, Tuula Lehtinen, Okko Oinonen and Einari Levo, among others.

The collection has been built by purchasing mainly, but some donations complement it well. The extensive and high-quality collection of graphics and drawings by Pertti Ala-Outinen, an artist and critic with Karelian roots and former headmaster of Pori Drawing School, has been a great addition to the museum’s relatively young collection. Ala-Outinen’s donation includes works from key Finnish graphic artists like Askola, Tanttu, Kaskipuro, Pietilä, Lumikangas, Karjalainen and Hämäläinen. The oldest works include Japanese woodcuts from the 19th century and early European etchings. Most of the collection consists of Finnish graphics from the 1960s and 1970s.

Over the years, a large number of works by local artists have been donated to the collections. Lappeenranta-based cultural influencer Jussi Komonen’s estate has donated works by Unto Pusa and Albin Kaasinen, for example. The donations also include the production of wood draughtsman Tapio Kelo-Puomio, wood drawings by Tanja Korpela and paintings by Kalle Kuutola. The Finnish Cultural Foundation has donated to the collections the large pastel sketches of Sunday Visit by Young Women (Nuorten naisten sunnuntainen vierailu, 1913) by Juho Rissanen. The final contract work was located in the Hackman family house in Viipuri, but it was destroyed in the war. The Finnish Cultural Foundation’s donations also include works by Muusari, Kunnas and Kamppuri. Many other donors have also contributed to the collections.