Nelimarkka Museum is a diverse cultural centre.
Nelimarkka Museum, established by artist professor Eero Nelimarkka and designed by his friend, architect Hilding Eklund, was opened in 1964. The museum is now administered by the city of Alajärvi.
Nelimarkka Museum was named the Regional Art Museum of South Ostrobothnia in 1995. The Museum presents and researches Eero Nelimarkka’s art, promotes the art of the South Ostobothnian region, and offers art education services. Nelimarkka Museum is a venue for art exhibitions, workshops and events for all ages.In addition, the museum hosts an international Artist Residency program. Eero Nelimarkka’s former summer atelier Villa Nelimarkka serves as a residency house as well as an exhibition and event venue. In addition, themuseum operates in Villa Väinölä, designed by Alvar Aalto, in the centre of Alajärvi.
Nelimarkka Museum’s permanent exhibition displays Eero Nelimarkka’s work with different themes. Besides his famous landscapes, Nelimarkka painted insightful portraits, still lifes, and religious subjects that depict Nelimarkka as a historical figure as well. The Museum houses Nelimarkka’s former atelier room, where the artist was seen working until his last years. Temporary exhibitions, focusing on contemporary art, display the work of nationally and regionally interesting artists. In the summer, Cafe de Nelimarkka serves refreshments, coffee and a special cake named after Nelimarkka. The Museum Shop is open all year round. Customized guided tours or workshops are offered for groups visiting the Museum. The Museum facilities are also suitable for organizing concerts or meetings.
Eero Nelimarkka was born in Vaasa on October 10, 1891. After becoming a pastry chef, young Nelimarkka left to study art first in Helsinki and then Paris. Nelimarkka was married to Saimaa Alaviitala from Alahärmä in 1918 and they had four children. Nelimarkka is known for his vast landscape paintings portraying the Ostrobothnian nature. He did not only paint the nature, but also people, still lifes and city views. His interiors depict true Ostrobothnian culture. Nelimarkka's art has always been representational and he was an artist who never painted without a model. Therefore, self-portraits and pictures of his wife Saima cover the artists’ whole career. Nelimarkka's art was also international. He made many painting trips abroad during his life and especially enjoyed the boheme Paris. Nelimarkka was the founding member of the Ostrobothnian Artists' Association. The artist received the title of Professor in 1966. Eero Nelimarkka wanted to establish an art school and museum in Alajärvi because he believed that experiencing art was meant equally for everybody. The Museum was opened in 1964. Nelimarkka kept his Museum open in the summertime until his death in 1977.
Nelimarkka Museum’s Residency program has been active since the mid-1980s. The program became year-round in 1995. The program was officially named Nelimarkka Residency in 1999 and has been accommodating artists from all continents. The purpose of the program is to follow Nelimarkka's dream of setting up his own art school. The Residency provides quiet living and working space for around ten artists around the world annually. The Residency program encourages interaction between the local community and visiting artists. During their stay, the artists carry out various projects, exhibitions and workshops. Villa Nelimarkka, located near the Museum, functions as the artist house of the Nelimarkka Residency.
The artist house Villa Nelimarkka, built by Eero Nelimarkka for his family, is located approximately 500 meters from the Museum. The two-storey Villa with a gambrel roof was completed 1932. Restored to its original looks, the villa was opened to the public in 2013. Many events and exhibitions are hosted in Villa Nelimarkka and the building functions as the artist house of the Nelimarkka Residency
Pekkolantie 67, Alajärvi
Open in the summers and by appointment.
Villa Väinölä, built in 1926, was designed by Alvar Aalto as a home and office for his brother, geodetic engineer, Väinö Aalto. The blueprints are based on the drawings of an atrium house by Alvar Aalto in 1925. The staircase leading to the second floor is decorated with ionic columns, whereas the arcade that faces the garden is supported by doric columns. The attached outbuilding with altered concept or architectural form was designed by Aalto in 1938.
In 1952, the ownership of Villa Väinölä was transferred to the city of Alajärvi. The building has served as the local doctor's office as well as a municipal office building. In 2015, the building was added to the domain of Nelimarkka Museum. Exhibitions and events are organized at Väinölä. Guided tours of Väinölä and other Aalto sites can be booked from the Nelimarkka Museum.