The Sara Hildén Foundation was established in 1962. At that time Mrs. Sara Hildén (1905-1993), a Tampere art collector and businesswoman, handed over her art collection to the Foundation which was named after her.
Once the Foundation had been established, a conscious effort was made to expand the collection. With leading Finnish art experts to help her, Mrs. Hildén herself engaged actively in the acquisition of new works. From the very beginning the aim was to create a collection of modern international art.
Not only are modern Finnish artists represented in large numbers, many of them are also represented by a wide selection of works. The Finnish painters include Kimmo Kaivanto, Kauko Lehtinen, Reino Hietanen, Jaakko Sievänen, the sculptors are represented by Harry Kivijärvi and Kain Tapper, and the graphic artists by Pentti Kaskipuro and Pentti Lumikangas. The Finnish masters of the early part of this century include Helene Schjerfbeck, Ragnar Ekelund, Otto Mäkilä and Tyko Sallinen.
The non-Finnish collection reflects the
international trends in vogue at the time the works were acquired by
the Foundation. Informalism was the dominant trend in the European
art of the 1960s :
- the major Informalist artists represented in the collection include Pierre Soulages, Antoni Tàpies, Jean Dubuffet, Jean Fautrier, Rafael Canogar, Roger Bissière, Hans Hartung, Alfred Manessier and Zao Wou-Ki
- kinetic art and geometric abstract art are exemplified in the works of Victor Vasarely, Nicolas Schöffer, Josef Albers, Alberto Magnelli and Serge Poliakoff.
- new Realism is exhibited in the works of Claudio Bravo, Arman, George Segal, Edward Kienholz, Christo and Jean Ipousteguy.
Alongside these artists there are also some of the earliest masters of modern art, such as Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Paul Klee, Paul Delvaux, Joan Miró, Victor Brauner, Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Yves Tanguy, Graham Sutherland, Aristide Maillol and Georges Rouault as are also the masters Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris and Pierre Bonnard.
The Sara Hildén Foundation Collection currently amounts to some 2,800 works. It is thus a comprehensive collection which presents a broad cross section of the development in modern art over the last forty years. The museum was opened to the public on 11 February, 1979. The Sara Hildén Foundation continues to be responsible for expanding the collection, and places its acquisitions in the art museum.