When the Ateneum was placed under government administration in 1990, its collections were divided between the Ateneum Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The contemporary collection includes all Finnish and international art made after the year 1960. Thus the Ateneum collections introduce Finnish art from the Gustavian period of the mid 18th century to the modernist movements of the 1950's. The permanent collections are exhibited on the third floor of the Ateneum building.
The collection was initiated a couple of years after the Finnish Art Society had been established. The society itself acquired a few works considered worthy of the collection, while it also accepted donations of one or more works of art.
The most notable donation at the turn of the twentieth century was made by Licentiate of Medicine Herman Frithiof Antell, who not only donated his whole collection but also the funds for regular acquisitions. The Antell Collection includes works by van Gogh, Gauguin and Cézanne , choices that were questioned by his contemporaries. The museum's own acquisition committee concentrated on purchasing Finnish art.
The 1950's and 1960's saw a campaign to raise the Ateneum to a standard European level, and one way of achieving this was thought to be the purchase of international contemporary art.
The Ateneum Art Museum adds to its collection every year and produces extensive exhibitions of Finnish art, and the different movements and phenomena it has been influenced by. Another task is to arrange exhibitions introducing Finnish art for international exhibition exhange. The programme of special events produced for Ateneum's exhibitions includes guided tours, concerts, and films or videos.
The Ateneum Art Museom comprises approximately 20 000 works of art.
The museum on google maps: