Helsinki museum gifted “millions” by mysterious art lover

Didrichsen Art Museum in Kuusisaari houses a collection of more than 1000 pieces of Finnish and modern international art.

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File picture showing exterior of Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki / Credit: Rauno Träskelin, Didrichsen Art Museum

A Helsinki museum has received more than a million euros in a donation from a mystery benfactor.

The Didrichsen Art Museum in Kuusisaari has been given a sum of money “in the millions” to add to its its investment portfolio, with the proceeds then to be used by the museum to continue its activities.

One stipulation is that the person making the donation wants to remain anonymous.

The museum says such a large donation is rare in Finnish cultural circles.

“We were overwhelmed and happy to see that our work is considered so highly, and that people think that a little museum in Helsinki is so great that it’s worth donating” says Maria Didrichsen.

“It’s very rare for any living person to give such big amounts to culture, in Finland in general its’s very unusual” she tells News Now Finland, confirming that the donation came from a living Finnish person, and not from someone’s will.

“We are not supposed to use the money to go and buy a [Helene] Schjerfbeck or something like that, it’s supposed to help us get a more stable revenue from the investments to use for the programme or our activities” Didrichsen explains.

“It gives us further strength and motivation to continue the work we have done so far, and strengthens our possibilities also to serve the public” she adds.

What is the Didrichsen Art Museum?

The Didrichsen Art Museum was established more than 50 years ago and currently holds a collection of more than a thousand piece of Finnish and modern international art as well as artifacts from ancient Oriental and Pre-Columbian cultures.

The museum buildings were originally designed to be a home and a small art museum and built in two phases in 1958 and 1964.

“We hope that our little museum will remain the home of everything beautiful: art, architecture, mature and music and that it will give others as much joy as it has given us” founders Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen were quoted as saying back in 1968.

Next year the first ever Finnish exhibition of Vincent Van Gogh paintings will be staged at the museum, to mark its 55th anniversary.

The main part of the exhibition will be a selection of drawings from the early years of the artist’s career, on loan from a museum in the Netherlands.

Boy and Sickle, Vincent Van Gogh 1881 / Credit: Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands