Kuopio Art Museum's collections contain around 6,700 works. The Art Museum is responsible forgathering andstoringhistorically significant art material from the Northern Savo area. Included in the collections are works from the renowned Finnish von Wright brothers, the Halonen family from the Lapinlahti area, the Kuopio-born painter Juho Rissanen, along with various artists influential in the area today.
The collections, consisting mainly of Finnish art, form the core for the Museum's activities. The collections serve as a base for exhibitions, research, museum education and various other events.
Art museums' collections are vital to the study of Finnish art history. In addition to Kuopio Art Museum's own exhibitions, works from the collections are on display at other museums. The cataloging, research, borrowing, conservation, framing and maintenance work of the collections are among the daily tasks performed by the Museum.
The Museum's collections include important artworks received as donations or deposits. New works are also purchased for the collections yearly. Each purchase is carefully considered and made in accordance with the Museum's collecting policy.
Kuopio Art Museum Collection
Kuopio Art Museum's own collection was founded in 1981 and contains over 800 works. The collection consists mainly of contemporary artworks from North Savo and classics dating from the 19th century until present day. New works are purchased for the collections with the Museum's annual appropriation, with a focus on current Finnish and significant regional art. The collection is also supplemented with older art. Small parts of collections have been acquired as gifts or bequests, such as the bequest collection from Rakel Ilona Toivola, consisting of older foreign art and Finnish art from the 20th century.
Kuopio City Collection
The Kuopio City Art Collection was founded in 1949. Containing over 1900 works, the collection is one of the largest heldby the Museum. Most of the works in the collection are displayed at various locations around the city: pieces are exhibited in governmental buildings, institutions and other public places. The various sculptures and monuments in the city area belong to the city's collection, including the sculpture of J.V. Snellman, which was the first to be placed on public display, and the well-known 'Veljmies' ('Brother') by Heikki Konttinen located on the market square. Artworks and wall paintings at the Kuopio Music Centre, Kuopio City Theatre and schools are also part of the collection. The city's public collection of art grows with new purchases for new buildings as well as upon renovations of old establishments.
Osk. Huttunen Collection
The Finnish commercial counselor Oskar Huttunen (1865-1955), who began his career in business in Kuopio, bequeathed his art collection comprising 91 works to the city of Kuopio as a 'starting point for a Savo art museum.' Art was both a personal interest and financial investment for Oskar Huttunen, who also welcomed artists to his home. He was particularly fond of artists from the Savo area Pekka Halonen, Juho Rissanen, Fridolf Weurlander and Matti Karppanen. Huttunen is said to have had a continuous order for new artwork from Karppanen. In addition to the artists from the Savo area, Huttunen invested in safe,risk-free artists such as Albert Edelfelt, Eero Järnefelt, Hjalmar Munsterhjelm and Arvid Liljelund. A selection of religious foreign art is also included in the collection.
Leondardo Da Vilhu Collection
The collection from the Kuopio-born artist Risto Vilhunen (b. 1945), or 'Vilhu', draws from Vilhunen's interest and respect towards the works of other artists. The collection comprises mainly drawings and graphic artfrom contemporary Finnish artists. Pieces of significant foreign art are also included.
The collection was managed by The Leonardo Da Vilhu Foundation until its closure in 2010, after which the deposited works were donated to the Museum.
Risto Vilhunen's collection consists of around 4,200 works, of which some 3,500 have now been acquired by the Museum. The wide scope, the significance of the pieces as well as the speed at which the collection has expandedare descriptive of Vilhunen's passion towards art. He has acquired new pieces for the collection by purchase, and also by trading his own works with other artists. Various artists have also contributed to the collection by way of donations, some very significant in scale.
Pekka Halonen Collection
Kuopio Art Museum received 150 works of contemporary art as a deposit from art collector Pekka Halonen in 2008. The collection consists mainly of Finnish and foreign paintings from the 1980s. Along with works from European and American artists, the speciality of the collection lies in perestroika-themed avant-garde art by the Russian Furmannij Group. The collection includes works from foreign artists such as Rainer Fetting, Per Kirkeby, Julian Schnabel, Robert Rauschenberg, Andrei Roiter ja Vadim Zaharov, and the Finnish Hannu Väisänen, Leena Luostarinen, Kalervo Palsa, Silja Rantanen and Pauno Pohjolainen.
The Kuopio Naturalists' Society has donated most of its art collection to the City of Kuopio, The collection acquired by the Museum comprises 78 works and sketch collections (1070 pieces in total). Included are 29 artworks and numerous sketches and studies by Matti Karppanen. Among the central artists in the collection are Ferdinand von Wright and Pekka Halonen.
The J. Fr. Tuhkanen collection consists of 225 works, of which 199 are by Tuhkanen himself. The collection was received as a bequest, and most of the works included are on display at different locations in public buildings and institutions in Kuopio. Johan Fredrik Tuhkanen (1862-1944) was a decorative painter from Kuopio, who also took to creating paintings.
The Art Museum also houses pieces belonging to the Kuopio Natural History Museum, including 290 works by Juho Rissanen and other objects.
108 works belonging to the Finnish National Gallery are deposited at the Museum. Formerly owned by The Finnish Saving Bank, the works were acquired by the Finnish National Gallery through the Finnish Government Guarantee Fund.
The Walter Wahl collection containing 11 artworks belonging to Finnish Art Society are also currently deposited at the Museum.