The Gerda and Salomo Wuorio Foundation

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Salomo Wuorio opened his own painting company in Helsinki in January 1890, while the painting work at the National Archives was still ongoing. Salomo Wuorio quickly gained the trust of his customers. Already in the 1890's, the S. Wuorio Painting Company was commissioned with the painting work of the most important new buildings in the city, but they also worked elsewhere in Finland. The painting contract for the National Arhives was Wuorio's first major work in Helsinki, and success in carrying it out undoubtedly helped in getting the contract for the House of the Estates. Carrying out the decorative painting on these two monumental buildings gave Wuorio such a reputation that every self-respecting resident of Helsinki wanted their house to be painted specifically by his company.

The activities develop
The activities of the S. Wuorio Painting Company developed beyond traditional building and decorative painting during the 1890's. Novelties like the etching of glass and painting plates on glass were conveyed to Finland through the company. There was a separate studio for plating and glasswork, which was the responsibility of the Swedish-born Hugo Lindqvist.

During the 1890's, the S. Wuorio painting company became the leading painting business in Helsinki and in the whole of Finland. At the time of start-up, the company's workshop and office both fitted in an outhouse at Vuorikatu 5. After a couple of years, the company moved to Pohjoisesplanadi 7 where the Wuorio family also lived. The S. Wuorio Wallpaper and Carpet Shop was opened in the same building in March 1900. The decorative painting and plate studios, which had grown extensively, were relocated to Aleksanterinkatu 13, i.e. the Lundqvist business palace. The shop space at Pohjoisesplanadi soon began to become cramped and in 1901 the wallpaper and carpet shop and the painting company's office moved to Aleksanterinkatu 9.

The golden age of decorative painting comes to an end
The golden age of decorative painting that was based on shading, stencil work and imitation techniques, ended at the end of the 1890's. At the turn of the century, the ideals of national romanticism broke through in architecture and design as well as in the field of painting. Instead of abundant ornamentation, there was a call for freer, more profound and more individualistic idiom. The changing of architectural ideals also changed the stylistic and material demands for decorative painting.

Salomo Wuorio was able to anticipate the new trends and farsightedly widened his company's field of activity to be able to respond to the changed demand. Especially lead glazing became enormously popular. They were a perfect response to the demand for carefully designed details and they invoked creative enthusiasm among artists and architects. Many stained glass works designed by persons at the forefront of Finnish artistic life were painted at the Wuorio studio, like in 1902 the lead glass work designed for the foyer of the Finnish National Theatre by architect Eliel Saarinen.

The Wuorio business palace
The Wuorio business palace, designed by architect Herman Gesellius, was completed at Unioninkatu 30 in 1909. The office of the S. Wuorio painting company and the wallpaper and carpet shop moved into the building right after its completion. The increment designed by architect Armas Lindgren was completed in 1914. The street side of the building was raised by three floors, the two uppermost of which were situated under a high tile roof. At the same time the third floor was changed to residential space. Salomo Wuorio moved with his family to Unioninkatu 30 in 1914.

The painting company after Salomo Wuorio
In 1936, Salomo Wuorio handed over the managerial duties of his business to his only heir, architect Gunnar Wuorio. In practice, the painting company was run by Ilmari Tähtinen and the wallpaper and carpet shop was the responsibility of Nils Långhjelm. Salomo Wuorio died at the age of 80 on February 28, 1938.

The company, led by Gunnar Wuorio, was divided into two partnership firms on January 1, 1949. The painting department retained its name as S. Wuorio Painting Company, but the name of the carpet and wallpaper department was changed to G. Wuorio & co. In 1963 the companies were changed into limited companies. In 1965, the three leading figures and principal shareholders of the companies, Ilmari Tähtinen, Nils Långhjelm and Gunnar Wuorio, died. Master painter Ilmari Fall became the managing director of the S. Wuorio Painting Company. Ilmari Fall retired in 1973. After this, master painter Sulo Tapaninen acted as the managing director of the painting company until 1979.

In 1979, the S. Wuorio Painting Company operated in the premises at Unioninkatu 10 and Carpet House Wuorio at Unioninkatu 30. Master painter Pertti Hukkanen came to the workshop to buy 17 carat leaf gold, which could not be found anywhere else in Helsinki. He found suitable leaf gold, but in tandem he was offered the whole company. Accordingly, Hukkanen bought the S. Wuorio Painting Company Ltd., including its stock and archival material. The S. Wuorio Painting Company Ltd does not operate any more.