BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Rafaela Seppälä

RKF Collection – Helsinki, Finland

Rafaela and Kaj Forsblom. Photo: Lasse Lecklin
Rafaela and Kaj Forsblom. Photo: Lasse Lecklin

What was the first piece of artwork you purchased, and when was this?

My husband Kaj Forsblom and I began collecting when we met and decided to make a life together in 1999. My husband, being a gallerist since 1977, already owned a number of works as did I, having both been interested in art for a long time. I had bought a small A.R. Penck watercolor from Kaj, but one of the first works we bought together was a David Hockney photo collage of a desk that we purchased after visiting Hockney´s studio in Los Angeles. Kaj, who had exhibited Hockney at his gallery in the past, had sent me to see the Hockney retrospective at the Pompidou in Paris a couple of months earlier.

Installation view. Collection of Finnish glass by Timo Sarpaneva, Tapio Wirkkala and others. Photo: Lasse Lecklin
Installation view. Collection of Finnish glass by Timo Sarpaneva, Tapio Wirkkala and others. Photo: Lasse Lecklin
Nam June Paik ’Phoenix’, 1996. Photo: Lasse Lecklin
Nam June Paik ’Phoenix’, 1996. Photo: Lasse Lecklin

Why do you collect?

Art gives such a beautiful, interesting and inspiring image of our time. After you have collected a few pieces in your home you get the urge to find them companions, to grow the collection like a garden with new intriguing species. We are also interested in following artists over a period of time as they deepen their practice. Being Finnish we decided to collect Finnish design to keep some of the best Finnish pieces in Finland as part of the national patrimony.

Does your collection follow a concept or a specific theme?

Our collection has art in it that we both fell in love with. I say it is art “that gives me goose bumps”; pieces that change the way we look at things and feel things. Our collection is mostly of contemporary artists. We have a small subsection of innovative digital art including artists such as Nam June Paik, Tony Oursler, Tatsuo Miyajima, Jim Campbell and Charles Sandison. We have quite a good selection of painters from the 1980´s but also in depth collections of the work of some specific Finnish artists.

Digital installation by Charles Sandison. Photo: Lasse Lecklin – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Digital installation by Charles Sandison. Photo: Lasse Lecklin – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Who are the artists you are currently following?

The ones in our collection are always of interest to us and we like to seek out great pieces by our favorite artists. Of the younger artists we have been following Secundino Hernández, Reima Nevalainen and Adam Winner.

Do you have a personal relationship with the artist you collect?

It is one of our great privileges to have been able to meet and get to know many of the artists we collect. Many have become good friends and we spend holidays together.

Installation view. All works by Anish Kapoor. Photo: Lasse Lecklin – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Installation view. All works by Anish Kapoor. Photo: Lasse Lecklin – © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Installation view. Works by Damien Hirst, Subodh Gupta, HC Berg. Photo: Lasse Lecklin – © Damien Hirst and Scrience Ltd. All rights reserved / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Installation view. Works by Damien Hirst, Subodh Gupta, HC Berg. Photo: Lasse Lecklin – © Damien Hirst and Scrience Ltd. All rights reserved / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Why did you decide to make your collection publicly accessible?

Finland is a small country without a long collecting tradition or much direct access to international art. Kaj has been working for nearly four decades to bring international artists and their work here.

We have been privileged to have a ringside seat and want to share that with the public. For the time being we open by appointment only a section of our collection to the public. We have only really been collecting for 15 years and are still looking for a better more permanent way to share our collection.

All images courtesy the RKF Collection, Helsinki

Collectors (54)

Jochen Zeitz

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) - Cape Town, Africa

Michael Buxton

Buxton Contemporary - Melbourne, Australia

Anastasios A. Gkekas

The Office Collection - Nicosia, Cyprus

Christine and Andrew Hall

Hall Art Foundation - Reading, USA & Derneburg, Germany

João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz

Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz (IFF) - São Paulo, Brazil

Gordon Elliott

The Elliott Eyes Collection - Sydney, Australia

Seth Stolbun

The Stolbun Collection – Houston, USA

Christian & Karen Boros

Sammlung Boros – Berlin, Germany

Maria Didrichsen

Didrichsen Art Museum – Helsinki, Finland

Timo Miettinen

Salon Dahlmann – Berlin, Germany

Marli Hoppe-Ritter

Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter – Waldenbuch, Germany

Désiré Feuerle

The Feuerle Collection – Berlin, Germany

Noemi Givon

Givon Art Forum – Tel Aviv, Israel

The Vague Space

Christian Kaspar Schwarm on the first solo presentation of his collection at the Weserburg Bremen

Gudrun & Bernd Wurlitzer

Wurlitzer Pied A Terre Collection – Berlin, Germany

Dominique & Sylvain Levy

DSLCollection – Paris, France

Corbett Lyon

Lyon Housemuseum – Melbourne, Australia

Geert Verbeke-Lens

Verbeke Foundation – Kemzeke, Belgium

László Vass

Vass Collection – Veszprém, Hungary

Daisuke Miyatsu

Dream House – Ichikawa, Japan

Samara Walbohm & Joe Shlesinger

Scrap Metal Gallery – Toronto, Canada

Charles Riva

Charles Riva Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Anita Zabludowicz

Zabludowicz Collection – London, United Kingdom

Venke & Rolf Hoff

KaviarFactory – Lofoten, Norway

Alain Servais

Servais Family Collection – Brussels, Belgium

Ivo Wessel

Sammlung Ivo Wessel - Berlin, Germany

Ramin Salsali

Salsali Private Museum – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Vittorio Gaddi

Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi – Lucca, Italy

Miguel Leal Rios

Fundação Leal Rios – Lisbon, Portugal

Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek Collection – Dusseldorf, Germany

Gertraud and Dieter Bogner

Kunstraum Buchberg – Gars am Kamp, Austria

Bob Rennie

Rennie Collection at Wing Sang – Vancouver, Canada

Andrea von Goetz

Sammlung Blankenburg – Hamburg, Germany

Heiner Wemhöner

Sammlung Wemhöner – Herford, Germany

Lin Han

M WOODS – Beijing, China

Kenny Goss

The Goss-Michael Foundation – Dallas, USA

Karsten Schmitz

Arbeitswohnung Federkiel – Leipzig, Germany

Devon Dikeou

The Dikeou Collection - Denver, USA

Thomas Olbricht

ME Collectors Room Berlin/Stiftung Olbricht – Berlin, Germany

Mera & Donald Rubell

Rubell Family Collection – Miami, USA

Pétur Arason

Safn – Berlin, Germany / Reykjavík, Iceland

Steffen Hildebrand

G2 Kunsthalle – Leipzig, Germany

Frédéric de Goldschmidt

Frédéric de Goldschmidt – Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Teo

The Private Museum – Singapore, Singapore

Claudio Cosma

Sensus – Luoghi per l’arte Contemporanea – Florence, Italy

Michał Borowik

Michał Borowik Collection – Warsaw, Poland

Herbert Gerisch

Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung - Neumünster, Germany

José Berardo

Museu Coleção Berardo – Lisbon, Portugal

Bärbel Grässlin and Karola Kraus

Sammlung Grässlin - St. Georgen, Germany

Joëlle and Eric Romba

Rocca Stiftung – Berlin, Germany

Myriam and Amaury de Solages

Maison Particulière – Brussels, Belgium

Friedrich Gräfling

Sammlung Fiede - Aschaffenburg, Germany

Benjamin Genocchio

Fair Director at The Armory Show