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Jusepe de Ribera, Ecce Homo, 1644. Finnish National Gallery / Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Friends of Ateneum Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Matti Janas.

HELSINKI.- The Friends of the Ateneum, which is Finland’s oldest and largest museum friends association, was founded in 1919 to support the Ateneum Art Museum. In honour of the association’s centenary, an exhibition entitled One Hundred Years of Friendship presents works of art donated and funded by the association. The exhibition is being staged in one gallery on the third floor of the Ateneum, and it will run until 6 October 2019. The Friends of the Ateneum donations lecture series, to be held in August and September, will dig deeper into the works featured in the exhibition. 

One Hundred Years of Friendship to present the history of donations 
Over a period of one hundred years, from 1919 to 2019, the Friends of the Ateneum have donated more than 130 works and sketches to the Ateneum Art Museum. One Hundred Years of Friendship, after a long hiatus, presents works from the Friends of the Ateneum collection of donations. The works selected for the exhibition play an important role in the Ateneum collection, as well as that of the Sinebrychoff art museum, which also includes pre-19th-century works from outside Finland. Through the works in the exhibition, art acquisition methods and sources are discussed from various perspectives, and the background and provenance of the works are described. 

Densely exhibited in one gallery, One Hundred Years of Friendship features works by, for example, Alexander Lauréus, Hugo Simberg and Sulho Sipilä. The exhibition emphasises the important role of the Friends of the Ateneum in supporting the museum’s research and collection activities. 

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Alexander Lauréus, Party at the Parsonage, 1815. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, coll. Friends of Ateneum. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Janne Mäkinen

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Alexander Lauréus, Marcellusteatterin raunioissa, 1820. Ateneumin taidemuseo, Ateneumin ystävien kokoelma. Kuva: Kansallisgalleria / Jouko Könönen.

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Hugo Simberg, In the Rocking Chair, Anni Bremer, 1908. Ateneum Art Museum, Friends of Ateneum Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Antti Karvinen.

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Sulho Sipilä, Winter Landscape, 1917-1923. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, Friends of Ateneum Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Jenni Nurminen.

A Marcus Collin to be acquired for the Ateneum collection through a fundraising campaign 
When the Friends of the Ateneum was founded one hundred years ago, the purpose of the association was to support the provision of art education at the Ateneum by acquiring and donating works of art-historical significance to the museum’s collection. Over the course of the century, the association’s operations have expanded, while it still retains its primary purpose. The One Hundred Years of Friendship exhibition will also feature Marcus Collin’s work Woman in Black (1918), which will be donated to the collection in 2019. The Friends of the Ateneum are running a special centenary fund-raising campaign to enable its acquisition, and all contributions are welcome. Read more about the fundraising campaign (in Finnish) 

The Friends of the Ateneum association has almost 2,000 members. Membership offers a front-row seat to the Ateneum collections and exhibitions, and a community that lives and breathes all things Ateneum.

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Marcus Collin, Lady in Black, 1918. Finnish National Gallery / Ateneum Art Museum, Friends of Ateneum Collection. Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Hannu Pakarinen