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Press release: Ateneum Art Museum turns 125


Ateneum Art Museum will celebrate its 125th birthday on Sunday 13 October 2013. The Ateneum building itself was completed in 1887, and the Finnish Art Society's collections were first exhibited in its rooms on 13 October 1888. The museum attracted 577 visitors during its opening week. Now, 125 years later, visitors will be able to enjoy special events at the museum to mark its birthday, including a chance to see the new FOKUS exhibition “Contemporary Art 125 Years Ago”.

Ateneum will be in full swing over the birthday weekend. The exhibition “On the Shores of the Lake” opens a couple of days earlier along with the Ristiveto chamber music festival. In addition, favourite artworks from the museum’s collections will be on display in the exhibition halls on the ground floor together with the new FOKUS exhibition “Contemporary Art 125 Years Ago”, which presents works that were either made or acquired for Ateneum’s collections 125 years ago.

The FOKUS exhibition features many iconic paintings, including Helene Schjerfbeck’s The Convalescent, Albert Edelfelt’s Women Outside the Church at Ruokolahti, Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s Demasquée and First Lesson, and Eero Järnefelt’s Le Franc, Wine Merchant, Boulevard de Clichy, Paris. Many of the works, including The Convalescentand Women Outside the Church at Ruokolahti, were very controversial in their time. The way they were painted or the models that were used were considered inappropriate for presenting the Finnish national character. The aim of the FOKUS exhibition is indeed to show how good art is not always recognised as such at first.

Ateneum’s actual birthday, Sunday 13 October, will be marked with a full programme of events, and admission to the museum will be free of charge all day.

Further information about the history of Ateneum:

125th birthday programme:

FOKUS: Contemporary Art 125 Years Ago:

Ristiveto Festival:

On the Shores of the Lake – Tuusula Artist Community:


Ateneum Art Museum Kaivokatu 2, 00100 Helsinki, www.ateneum.fi
Open: Tue, Fri 10-18 | Wed, Thu 10-20 | Sat, Sun 11-17 | Closed on Mondays
Tickets: €12/10, free admission for visitors under the age of 18
Tickets in advance: Lippupalvelu outlets and online shop, www.lippupalvelu.fi

Media enquiries: Marja Istala Kumpunen, Communications Manager, tel. +358 (0)50 555 3551, mik@ateneum.fi


Ateneum’s main partners are Helsingin Sanomat, HOK-Elanto and KPMG.