The exhibition approaches the works of art through stories. The stories arise, among other things, from histories of the acquisition of the works, collectors’ thoughts about them, and their significance within the collections. Letters and other interesting archive material relating to the works have been used as source material. We have selected pairs of works from six artists in the exhibition: Alessandro Allori, David Teniers the younger, Frans Hals (now Unknown artist), Anthonisz van Ravesteyn, Jan Verspronck and Cornelis de Vos.
Gösta Serlachius’ most intensive period of collecting of old masters took place in the first decades of the 20th century, particularly in the 1920s and the 1930s. Paul Sinebrychoff started collecting art already in the 1880s. Paul Sinebrychoff died in 1917, only two years before Gösta Serlachius’ art collection was on display publicly for the first time in an exhibition held in the Ateneum Art Museum in 1919. The same year, Serlachius acquired his first old master, the painting Philosopher by David Teniers the younger. We wonder if the passionate art collectors knew each other?
Both collectors were particularly interested in portraits. Different genres of Dutch portraits, from monumental court portraits to intimate family portraits, are well represented in the Serlachius collection. The collection has a wide geographical coverage; in addition to Dutch works, it includes art from England, Italy, France and Spain. Paul Sinebrychoff started off by collecting Swedish portraits from the 17th and 18th centuries, often those of notable historical figures, and also miniatures and pastels. Later, he also became interested in Dutch portraits.
It would not be a big surprise if Gösta and Paul had known each other; after all, they shared the same passion. Now, over a hundred years later, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum brings their collections together. They will help us peek through the curtains of history into the fascinating world of these collectors.