BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Maria Didrichsen
Maria Didrichsen

How important is having the title of “collector” to you?

It’s not very important as I focus more on creating value and experiences for museum visitors through high quality exhibitions. Nonetheless, the existing collection is of course very important to me and forms the basis for the museum’s existence.

Sonia Delaunay, Autoportrait Portugal, 1916. Photo: Jussi Pakkala
Sonia Delaunay, Autoportrait Portugal, 1916. Photo: Jussi Pakkala
Sam Francis, ’Untitled Tokyo’, 1971. Photo: Jussi Pakkala
Sam Francis, ’Untitled Tokyo’, 1971. Photo: Jussi Pakkala

Does your collection follow a specific theme or particular artists?

The collection was created by my parents-in-law, Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen, from the 1940s onwards with their interest being very diverse and including many different themes and time periods. Their preference was with ancient art from pre-Columbian and Asian cultures as well as, art from the 20th century, which gives an intriguing feeling of contrast between ancient and modern. The main concept for their style of collecting was simply that both should like the work they acquired.

Do you have a personal relationship with the artists you collect?

We follow the museum founders’ principles and try to fulfill their thoughts on how to develop the collection. When we work with arranging an exhibition by a living artist, we usually acquire one or more works from that artist. During the planning of the exhibition you tend to get very well acquainted with the artist, and with many of the artists we have created a very personal relationship. We also give an award to a talented young artist every couple of years which includes an exhibition, an exhibition catalogue, a grant and an acquisition from the exhibition. The previous award winners have become very close to us.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela, ’Clouds’, 1904. Photo: Jussi Pakkala
Akseli Gallen-Kallela, ’Clouds’, 1904. Photo: Jussi Pakkala
Salvador Dalí, ’The Sandman’, 1966. Photo: Jussi Pakkala
Salvador Dalí, ’The Sandman’, 1966. Photo: Jussi Pakkala

Is there an artwork that you love but can’t live with due to size, medium, or value?

There are several masterpieces that would be a dream to possess, but sometimes everything you want to do is not possible! You can also admire and enjoy art without owning it.

In your opinion, what mistakes do young collectors commonly make? And what mistakes did you make when first starting on your collecting journey?

I’m not sure, maybe collectors who have recently started collecting might let the name of the artist lead their decisions, thinking more on it as an investment rather than something they truly enjoy and want to live with for a long time. Personally, I would say we were maybe too impulsive in the beginning – now we give acquisitions more thought.

What has the reaction been like from visitors of your collection since making it publicly accessible? Does this reaction impact you and what you collect?

The collection was made accessible to the public in 1965 when the museum was opened and visitors have highly enjoyed it since then. This has however not affected our collecting, we continue with our own profile.

Helene Schjerfbeck, ’The Apple Girl’, 1928. Photo: Jussi Pakkala
Helene Schjerfbeck, ’The Apple Girl’, 1928. Photo: Jussi Pakkala
Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland
Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland

How has the attitude to collecting changed since you began?

Actually I think it hasn’t changed very much. The legacy left by the museum founders has formed our attitude from the beginning – and has continued since then.

Which publicly accessible private collection would you recommend visiting?

A very nice collection can be seen at the Berggruen Museum in Charlottenburg in Berlin. I can also recommend a museum very close to ours: Villa Gyllenberg with an exquisite private collection and fine architecture is located just three hundred meters from the Didrichsen Art Museum, and as both museums are very optimal in size, a visit to both at the same time is ideal.

All images courtesy Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki

More Information on Didrichsen Art Museum

Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland
Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland

Collectors (56)

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Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy

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Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

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Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Rafaela Seppälä

RKF Collection – Helsinki, Finland

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany

Benjamin Genocchio

Fair Director at The Armory Show