House and home

The presence of Axel Haartman and his wife Hedvig is still strong at Casa Haartman.

The presence of artist Axel Haartman (1877–1969) and his wife Hedvig, née Stolpe (1874–1967) is still strong at Casa Haartman in Naantali.

The couple’s home for forty years, Casa Haartman, is a well-preserved home of an artist, with everything from paintings by well-known artists such as Helene Schjerfbeck, Fanny Churberg and Victor Westerholm to Axel Haartman’s own works and furniture he designed.

It also contains textiles and metalwork pieces handmade by Hedvig Haartman.

Architecture and antiques

Axel Haartman was extremely interested in architecture, interior design and furniture. He painted the decorative paintings himself and also designed some of the furniture, such as the radiator covers in the dining room.

In the first year in their new home, Haartman was inspired to decorate some of the walls and the ceilings of the library and the entrance hall with frescoes. He also designed the wallpaper for the guest room. The pattern of the decorative paintings for the walls of the drawing room is taken from an eighteenth century fan.

Axel Haartman also designed furniture; the cabinet in the dining room and the bookcase in the library are inspired by the balcony in Pargas church. The furniture was made by carpenter Karl Kyrklund from Pargas.

Over time, the couple built a significant collection of art, antiques and books at Casa Haartman. Plants were also important in the interior of the house.

Hedvig Haartman – the mistress of the house

Hedvig Haartman devoted a great deal of time to handicrafts and wove and sewed many of the textiles in Casa Haartman. She ran the household, and the couple had an active social life together. The Haartmans enjoyed sitting and reading or listening to the radio with their dog.

Hedvig Haartman died in 1967 and Axel died in 1969. They are both buried in Kimito, and Axel Haartman designed their gravestone.

The Haartmans saw the home as Axel’s greatest work of art and wanted it to be preserved in its original condition. The association Hedvigs Minne performed this task from 1970 to 2017. In 2017 Casa Haartman was donated to the Åbo Akademi University Foundation.

A breath of Italian air

Explore this gem of Bryggman architecture in Naantali

Casa Haartman was designed in 1925–26 by the famous Turku architect Erik Bryggman (1891–1955) in line with the pared-down architectural ideals of the day. Bryggman had been a student of Axel Haartman at the Turku Drawing School and designed the house as a commission for his former teacher, who in 1923 had become the curator of the Turku Art Museum.

Casa Haartman represents the Classical style of the 1920s, drawing inspiration from Italy and Swedish architecture. Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund (1885–1940) is especially said to have been a source of inspiration for Bryggman’s architecture.

Casa Haartman – a studio and a home

The two-storey brick house became both the home of Axel and Hedvig Haartman and Axel Haartman’s studio. The house is clad in smooth, light grey plaster with elements of blue and Pompeii red for windows and doors. There is a large balcony supported by four columns with classic, geometrical decorative effects. From the drawing room, a terrace opens access to the leafy garden, which in the Haartmans’ time was filled with all kinds of roses. Today the garden remains an enclosed green oasis with borders, fruit trees and flowers.

Bryggman and Haartman in collaboration

Externally, the house is the creation of Erik Bryggman, but Axel Haartman was responsible for the interior decor, decorating the walls and ceilings with artistic frescoes.

Under Axel Haartman’s will, his studio on the first floor of Casa Haartman was transformed into a flat for researchers, and it was used by researchers from the 1970s to the 1990s. Since then, the artist’s home has been open to small groups and for events.

In August 2017, the association Hedvigs Minne, which had managed Axel and Hedvig Haartman’s former home since 1970, donated Casa Haartman to the Åbo Akademi University Foundation. The donation included an extensive art collection comprising about 500 paintings and sketches by Axel Haartman and textiles, books, furniture, objects and works by other artists, including Victor Westerholm, Wäinö Aaltonen, Fanny Churberg and Helene Schjerfbeck.