Thursday, March 06, 2014

Mesenaatti / The Patron

Sara Hildén, Erik Enroth
Tampere Film Festival. National Competition 3


Finland 2013
Documentary | 73 min

Director: Pia Andell
Pia Andellin ohjaama dokumenttielokuva taiteesta, rakkaudesta ja omistamisesta vaatekauppias Sara Hildénin ja taiteilija Erik Enrothin myrskyisän avioliiton kautta tarkasteltuna.
PATRON tells the story of Sara Hildén, a Finnish businesswoman and art collector and of Erik Enroth, an artist, and their tempestuos marriage that did not end well. It is a film about art, love and ownership and when those collide

AA: I failed to see Mesenaatti last year when it was theatrically released, and I'm grateful having seen it now here in Tampere, where the Sara Hildén Museum meant a lot for me as a student. I loved the permanent collection then, and having seen this movie I feel even more gratitude, realizing how much effort and expertise (and cunning) was behind the distinguished collection. Both the individual works and the sum of the parts showed supreme taste and understanding.

Mesenaatti is an excellent documentary portrait of a patron of the arts, Sara Hildén, a tough Tampere-based businesswoman who had a great success after WWII with her fashion houses. She came from utterly poor circumstances and had practically no education at all, but she was en kulturens storförbrukare [a big time consumer of culture]. a voracious reader who had a big library, an avid theatregoer, and a film lover who could see her favourite film seven times. Most of all, she loved art and supported young and talented artists generously.

Pia Andell has collected vintage documentary footage and interviewed everybody. Mesenaatti is both a success story and a tragedy. Erik Enroth, the great expressionist painter, was Sara Hildén's husband and the love of her life, but when he eloped with another woman, she cut all ties to him. Hildén and Enroth had a contract that Hildén covered all costs and owned all of Enroth's work created during their marriage. Besides, she had already bought dozens before the marriage. Enroth was now denied access to his work, including the works-in-progress (he often spent years with his paintings), balanced exhibitions became impossible, and his artistic growth was broken. Enroth committed suicide. After that the long drawn-out court process came to the finish at the Supreme Court, and later the copyright law was changed according to its prejudicate: the artist cannot be denied access to his own work.

Besides this shattering story Mesenaatti is the story of modern art during Hildén's lifetime (she died in 1993), most interestingly during the 1950s and the 1960s.

A rich and balanced account of great passions in art. With permanent and growing value also thanks to the brilliant interviewees.

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