Ver Museo Amos Anderson Art Museum

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Amos Anderson was born on September 3, 1878 in a small village on the island of Kimito in the Turku archipelago. He attended school in his home parish and entered commercial college in Turku in 1898. Anderson studied economics and insurance in Germany and London in 1900–02. He advanced rapidly in his career and achieved success in business, industry and publishing.

In 1902, Amos Anderson landed his first job in Helsinki with the Mutual Insurance Company. Early on, Anderson showed an interest in economic journalism, contributing to financial and insurance magazines Försäkrings Tidskrift, first published in 1905, and Mercator, established 1906. Around the same time, Amos Anderson founded the advertising agency Nordiska annonsbyrån, and the Mercator printing press, which began operations in 1909. In 1911 Anderson founded the Dagens Tidning newspaper, with legendary Guss Mattsson as editor-in-chief.

Having acquired a controlling interest in the Tilgmann printing house in 1916, Amos Anderson became the biggest entrepreneur in Finnish lithography. In 1921, he bought Hufvudstadsbladet, the largest Swedish-language daily in Finland, and he also took over the Svenska Pressen evening paper the same year. Amos Anderson was editor-in-chief of Hufvudstadsbladet in 1928–36. By the time World War I broke out Amos Anderson had begun to accumulate wealth by buying property in the centre of Helsinki. In 1913, he had a residence-cum-office block built for himself on Yrjönkatu, the same building that today houses the Amos Anderson Art Museum. A few years later, he owned a large part of the area now known as Forum.

Amos Anderson was also actively involved in politics; he was Member of Parliament from 1922 to 1927 and presidential elector in 1937, 1940 and 1943. His circle of friends included Presidents P.E. Svinhufvud and Kyösti Kallio. In 1940, he donated villa Tamminiemi in Meilahti to the Finnish State for a presidential residence. Today the building houses the Urho Kekkonen Museum.
Story has it that Amos Anderson had two sides to his personality: by day he was a successful businessman, and by night a skilled socialiser and patron of the arts and culture. Behind his tough exterior was a romantic with a tendency for mysticism and religiousness. Amos Anderson felt a particular affinity for medieval art, music and ceremony. In 1921, he published an illustrated work of medieval Finnish church architecture. The restoration of old churches interested him to the extent that he sponsored the restoration of churches in Turku, Parainen and Kimito. In the mid-1920s, Anderson designed a private chapel for the top floor of his house complete with classical paintings and an organ.

Anderson also ventured into the world of theatre. His debut play, Vallis Gratiae, a legend set in the Middle Ages, premiered at the Swedish theatre in Helsinki in 1923. Over the following decades, he directed a series of plays, culminating in Hugo von Hofmannsthal's The Great Salzburg Theatre of the World, which was performed on several stages in Finland and abroad.

Anderson was a life-long patron of a wide range of artistic endeavours. He was closely affiliated with the Swedish theatre and financed its repairs in the mid-1930s. He also took the initiative in establishing the Finnish Institute in Rome (Villa Lante) to promote classical culture and scholarship, and made a substantial contribution towards the building of the Helsinki Art Hall in the late 1920s. Another of his abiding interests was Turku, the town where he spent his youth; many of Åbo Akademi's projects were funded with funds donated by Amos Anderson. The Academy showed its gratitude by conferring him an Honorary Ph.D. in 1948.

Anderson, who never married, named the Föreningen Konstsamfundet Foundation as the sole beneficiary to his will. The Foundation was established by Anderson in 1940 to promote Swedish-language culture in Finland, including music, literature, visual arts, theatre, vocational education and publishing through annual grants. In accordance with Anderson's wishes Föreningen Konstsamfundet maintains an art museum under his name and a museum in Söderlångvik. Anderson's own collection of 250 works and the interior of his home make up the main body of the collections of the two museums.
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Amos Anderson Art Museum - Finland

Yrjönkatu 27Helsinki00100
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