The Pamaus Society collection

The Pamaus Society (a society for industrialists and businessmen) was established in Viipuri in 1891 at the time of the birth of the Finnish identity. At the same time, other ideological and national organisations were also established, including the Finnish Society (Suomalainen Seura) and the Viipuri Friends of Art Association which was an association for visual arts. They all had a common desire to promote Finnish national and social awareness. Businessmen, in particular, gathered around the Pamaus Society to promote common issues. Finnish identity was emphasised in the early activities. In addition to business, financial and municipal matters, the society engaged in artistic hobbies. The social evenings included presentations, and experts from various fields were invited to talk about their areas of expertise.

The Pamaus Society had a soft spot for visual arts, which was reflected in ordering and purchasing paintings for the club room. The best-known of the portraits of significant business and finance figures is the 1911 portrait of Juho Lallukka by Eero Järnefelt. The collection also includes a portrait by Eva Cederström of the last Finnish mayor of Viipuri, Arno Tuurna, from 1954. Other Viipuri-based influencers included Wilhelm Porthan, a goldsmith master whose portrait was painted by Viipuri-based artist Kalle Kuutola in 1915. Other well-known works include the 1923 portrait of William Otsakorpi by Eero Snellman. The society’s collection also includes Pekka Halonen’s Landscape (Maisema) from 1908 and Elias Muukka’s Landscape from Lemi (Maisema Lemiltä), which was painted in 1911.

A small part of the collection was destroyed in Viipuri during the Winter War, but the most valuable works were evacuated to safety in Helsinki and deposited in the Lappeenranta Art Museum in 1970.