In 1933, mill owner Gösta Serlachius (1876–1942) established a Fine Arts Foundation carrying his name in order to guarantee the future of the art collection he had built up. The mission of the foundation was to start museum operations in Mänttä, maintain the art collection and add to it, as well as to adorn the industrial town with art. The museum opened in Joenniemi Manor, Mänttä, in 1945. The goal-oriented development of the museum operations started in the 1970s.
In 2003, the Fine Arts Foundation extended its activity by opening a cultural-historical museum, which is now the Museum Gustaf, in the building of the former headquarters of the Serlachius company. Furthermore, the art museum operations were expanded in 2014 when a modern pavilion building was opened as an annex to Joenniemi Manor, updating the collection and exhibition spaces of the museum. Today, the Museum Gösta is one of our country’s foremost art museums, whose art collections are notable also at the Scandinavian level.
The core of the collection consists of works of the Golden Age of Finnish art with Gallen-Kallela’s production in the key position. Gösta Serlachius befriended this artist, whom even the founder of the Mänttä Paper Mill, G. A. Serlachius, had supported. The collection contains several comprehensive artist-specific bodies of artworks of Finnish masters, works for example by Albert Edelfelt, Emil Wikström, Helene Schjerfbeck, Ellen Thesleff, Hugo Simberg, Lennart Segerstråle and Marcus Collin. Gösta Serlachius also bought works of the modernists of his time, such as Magnus Enckell, Tyko Sallinen and Wäinö Aaltonen. In addition, the collection contains an extraordinary selection of about one hundred works of European master painting from the 15th to 19th century.
Today, the collection contains well over 10 000 works. Gösta Serlachius’s preferences and taste in art form still a red thread in the present collection acquisitions of the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation. Apart from paintings and sculptures, the collection contains sketches and graphic art, as well as works of contemporary art acquired in the last few years, among others, photographic and video art.