Maire Eva Johanna Gullichsen (née Ahlström, late Gullichsen-Nyströmer; June 24, 1907, Pori rural municipality – July 9, 1990, Pori) was a Finnish patron of the arts, who worked as a financier, ideator, and practical implementer of many projects in the Finnish visual arts, art industry, and architecture. He was born and died in the Honkala villa of the Ahlström family, one of Finland's wealthiest industrial families, located in the Pihlava villa area in Pori.
Maire Gullichsen left high school in the 7th grade of a co-ed school and then studied art in Paris under Santeri Salokivi in 1925, at the drawing room of the University of Helsinki, at the drawing school of the Finnish Art Association and as a private student of Werner Åström 1926–1927 and at the free academies of Paris 1927–1928. In 1935, she founded Aino ja Alvar With Aalto, Artek, whose goal was to combine art, technology and science. Accordingly, art exhibitions were also organized in Artek's premises, which later from 1949 were transferred to the newly founded Galerie Artek, which in turn was connected to Galerie Anhava in 1997. In the same year, Vapaa taidekoulu, which Maire Gullichsen was founding and where she herself studied, started operating with Artek.
Maire and Harry Gullichsen's collaboration with Aino and Alvar Aalto produced some of the best-known examples of modern Finnish architecture and art industry. Among them are the Gullichsens' home and representative apartment Villa Mairea in Noormarku's Ruuk area, Ahlström Oy's industrial and residential buildings in Eura's Kauttua and Kotka's Sunila, as well as numerous glassware still in production today, such as the Savoy vase. Gullichsen was the creator of Nykytaide ry, founded in 1939, and he was also organizing several exhibitions of current contemporary art in Helsinki. The breakthrough of abstract and especially constructivist art in Finland was decisively influenced by the Klar Form exhibition organized in 1952 and the exhibitions of Galerie Artek, which had been operating since 1950.
Since the 1960s, Gullichsen has been active with the goal of establishing a museum of modern art in his hometown of Pori. It finally started operating in 1979. In connection with its establishment, the Pori Art Museum took over the Finnish art collection of the art foundation named after Maire Gullichsen. The title of professor was awarded to Gullichsen in 1980. He died in 1990 in his birthplace at the age of 83, while writing his memoirs. The work was later published by his daughter under the title Rainbow colors, dark tones.
Family and private life
Gullichsen was the daughter of Walter Ahlström, the son of the founder of Ahlström companies, Antti Ahlström. In 1928, she married Harry Gullichsen (1902–1954), an engineer of Norwegian background, who served as CEO of A. Ahlström Osakeyhtiö since 1932. In 1969, Gullichsen married the Swede Bertil C. Nyströmer (1904–1995). Maire and Harry Gullichsen's children are architect Kristian Gullichsen (b. 1932), professor Johan Gullichsen (b. 1936) and professor Lilli Alanen (b. 1941).
Gullichsen, Maire: Rainbow Colors, Dark Shades: Memories from 1907–1928. (Regnbågsfärger, mörka stänk, 2008.) Finnished by Raija Rintamäki. Edited by Lilli Alanen and Cita Reuter. Helsinki: Tammi, 2010. ISBN 978-951-31-5730-2.
Woirhaye, Helena: Maire Gullichsen: art's running girl. Helsinki: Taideteollisuusmuseo, 2002. ISBN 952-9878-26-5.
Nummelin, Esko & Siltavuori, Emilia: Maire Gullichsen. Pori: Pori Art Museum, 2000. ISBN 951-9355-65-0.
On topic elsewhere
Pori Art Museum: Maire Gullichsen - an influencer in the art world
Peltonen, Jarno: Gullichsen, Mai