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The collections of the Tikanoja Art Museum

The collection of the Tikanoja Art Museum includes art collected by Frithjof Tikanoja (1877-1964) and a number of works bought after his death or donated to the collection.

Two key figures in art collections, Karl Hedman and Frithjof Tikanoja, worked in Vaasa partly at the same time. Both contributed to the city’s visual arts scene by participating in the Vaasa Art Association, founded in 1917. Initially, Tikanoja was most interested in literature, theatre, and music. He accumulated an extensive collection of books. Tikanoja took an interest in the visual arts during the First World War, and his interaction with artists continued for twenty years after Hedman’s death.

For Tikanoja, supporting Finnish-language culture and Nordic artists was a matter close to his heart. While Hedman acquired works from artists who had already established themselves, Tikanoja was also interested in painters, graphic artists and sculptors who were starting out in their careers and who were linked to Ostrobothnia through their origins or activities. Both Hedman’s and Tikanoja’s collections include foreign art, with the focus of Tikanoja’s collection on the pioneers of modernism.

The Tikanoja collection

The Tikanoja collection, like privately created art collections in general, has its own personal character. The collection is complex in its temporal and geographical scope. The oldest work in the collection is by David Teniers the Younger, portraying an outdoor meal in the 17th century. One of Frithjof Tikanoja’s last acquisitions was Eero Nelimarkka’s autumn landscape in Härmä (1951). The collection is richest in works by Eemu Myntti and Arvi Mäenpää, and Tikanoja was particularly interested in artists from Ostrobothnia. Tikanoja acquired a collection of works by foreign modernists in the 1920s. Henri Matisse’s Sculpture et vase de lierre (1916-17) is one of the gems of the collection, while Tikanoja’s own favourite was perhaps François Millet’s atmospheric portrait where shepherds are in the evening sun (1846). Two Persian paintings from the 19th century are among the specialities of the collection, but works by Ilona Harima are also rare in museum collections. In all, the collection contains over 1,000 works of art. Most of the works are on paper; watercolours, prints, drawings, and sketches.