The Collection was started during the 1950s when the Espoo Primary School Board and the national “Art for Schools” project began to collect art, mainly graphics, for schools. In the 1960s, the responsibility for the City of Espoo’s art purchases eventually came to be transferred to the city’s art committee..
From the 1960s onwards, the collection expanded to include paintings and sculptures. The first works of public art appeared in Espoo’s public spaces: monumental open-air sculptures as well as large murals and textile works. Artists living and working in Espoo were well-represented in art projects and acquisitions, with constructivism, typical in the 1960s and 1970s, as the focal point.
Ernst Mether-Borgström: Diamond, 1970s, painted steel
The increasingly international climate of the 1980s saw paintings with sumptuously rich colour palette at the fore. Modern sculpture transformed partly into installations or environmental art. Collections expanded during the economic boom also thanks to the practice of allocating a certain percentage of the public construction budget to art, until in the wake of the 1990s recession, art acquisitions from public funds were to become heavily restricted.
Towards the end of the previous millennium, the importance of photography increased, and after the turn of the new century, video installations and media art have gained foothold.
Jorma Puranen: From the series Imaginary homecoming: Untitled, 1991, photogragh
Following the founding of the municipal art gallery, Galleria Otso, in 1985, the collection expanded to include international art, particularly Nordic art. Now on its seventh decade, the collection forms a highly representative sample of Finnish post-war modernism complemented by touches of international colour.
Joan Miró: Série IV, 1952, aquatint and etching