Gösta Serlachius (1876-1942) established in 1933 a Fine Arts Foundation carrying his name to maintain a considerable art collection. A museum was opened in Mänttä in 1945, when the Fine Arts Foundation rented from Ruth Serlachius, the widow of Serlachius, a part of the first floor of Joenniemi Manor that had been the family residence. In 1972 Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation purchased the manor and the surrounding park. This also marked the starting point of a determined development of museum activities. At present Serlachius Museum Gösta stands at the forefront of Finnish art museums and possesses a significant collection also on the Scandinavian scale.
In 2003 the Fine Arts Foundation expanded its activities by opening another museum in Mänttä in the former head office of the Serlachius forest combine. In its exhibitions and services Serlachius Museum Gustaf tells the stories about history in a distinguishing way by means of drama.
At endowment phase of the Fine Arts Foundation the collection of Gösta Serlachius consisted already of about 250 artworks, among others paintings byAkseli Gallen-Kallela, Albert Edelfelt, Hjalmar Munsterhjelm, Helene Schjerfbeck, Hugo Simberg, Magnus Enckell, Eero Järnefelt, Verner Thomé,Tyko Sallinen and Marcus Collin. The collector’s broad-mindedness and his international view on art is reflected in, considering the circumstances of the era, exceptional collection of Old Master paintings, which includes about 100 artworks.
Nowadays the collection of the Fine Arts Foundation consists of about 2000 artworks. The collection of Finnish art starts from the 18th century, but its core is formed by a comprehensive range of artworks by artists of Finnish Golden Age like Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Albert Edelfelt and Helene Schjerfbeck. The Fine Arts Foundation also has an interesting collection of Finnish sculpture arising from the private collection of Mänttä’s first factory owner, the mill founder G. A. Serlachius. It consists of some key works of Emil Wikström, Hannes Autere and Wäinö Aaltonen.
Henrik de la Chapelle has chaired Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation since the year 2009. In addition to the chair, the vice-chair Stephan von Walzel and member Susanna Serlachius-Pressler represent the descendants of Sissi and Gösta Serlachius in the foundation. The family association has also chosen the member John Lindell (no relation). Expert members are Åsa Ringbom, professor of Art history in Abo Akademi, artist Antti Linnovaara representing the Academy of Fine Arts, and sculptor Anna-Kaisa Ant-Wuorinen representing the Artists’ Association of Finland.