As early as the 19th century, the Imatra region was being immortalised in paintings and drawings by famous artists such as Severin Falkman, Albert Edelfelt and Akseli Gallen-Kallela.
In the 20th century, Imatra again inspired many leading Finnish painters who visited a well-known patron of the arts, the engineer Jalo Sihtola (1882–1969), at Harakanhovi in Tainionkoski. This distinguished group of painters included Mikko Oinonen, Väinö Kamppuri, Uuno Alanko, Otto Mäkilä, Juho Mäkelä, Aimo Kanerva and Tuomas von Boehm.
Considered as the founder of both the Imatra Art Society and the Imatra Art Museum, Jalo Sihtola made a significant contribution to the arts in Imatra. Moreover, the art museum which was founded in Imatra in 1951, was one of Finland’s very first museums of art to be situated in a rural town.
The art collection housed in the Museum consists of works owned by the City of Imatra and the Imatra Art Society, totalling over 1400 items. The focus of the collection is on 20th century Finnish art.
Another collection which is of national importance is the Imatra Collection compiled by Jalo Sihtola. This particular collection comprises 20th century modern art from Finland, Sweden, France and Italy, a total of almost 400 works.
The works from Sihtola’s Imatra Collection were virtually all donated or sold by Jalo Sihtola, or donated by Ester and Jalo Sihtola Foundation and by private individuals.
The collection of the Imatra Art Museum includes works by Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Hugo Simberg as well as early 20th century painters such as Magnus Enckell, Verner Thomé, A. W. Finch, Yrjö Ollila, Mikko Oinonen, Tyko Sallinen, Juho Mäkelä, Eero Nelimarkka, Väinö Kamppuri, Uuno Alanko and Wäinö Aaltonen.
The 1950s - known as the decade of modernism - are also well represented through a very comprehensive group of works by Tuomas von Boehm. Also shown are Otto Mäkilä, Ole Kandelin, Tapani Raittila, Helge Dahlman, Anitra Lucander, Ina Colliander, Aimo Kanerva, Per Stenius, Olli Miettinen, Unto Pusa, Unto Koistinen and Sam Vanni.
The Museum’s exhibition and art education focus on 20th century Finnish art (in particular, South-Eastern Finnish art). Every year, the Museum also stages exhibitions of works drawing on its own art collections, as well as organising around ten temporary exhibitions and sets of lectures on visual arts and architecture.
The address is: Imatra Art Museum, Virastokatu 1, 55100 Imatra.