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Tuija Peltomaa

Born October 9, 1965, Sotkamo

MA (Art History) 1996, University of Helsinki

Writer, columnist, lecturer
Hourly teacher at Aalto University 2013–
Antiques expert on Antiques TV programme 1997–2014
Auction house work at Hagelstam Auctions 1996–2013
Teacher at the School of Arts and Design 1993–2007
Museum guide 1992–6 (Ateneum Art Museum, Modern Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki Kunsthalle, etc.)

Photo: Tuija Peltomaa
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by Joe McVeigh

Return to Roots

At the beginning of the 2010s Tuija Peltomaa was yearning for new challenges. Auction work felt like repetition and there was nothing new in sight. Over a decade had been plenty of time to become quite familiar with a field that has rather small circles in a country the size of Finland.

‘I’m not at my best when things become routine and you’re just operating like a robot. It could be said that the main reason was mental entropy. I felt like I no longer came across situations that forced me to push my boundaries, to do things in a completely different manner or to do something entirely new.’

The stream of questions directed at Peltomaa about the price of items when working at the auction house or on her television program started to pour out of her ears. Her studies in art history were brought into conflict with business interests as she found herself more and more inclined to explain the background of the items and why one piece was valuable and other was not.

The situation was resolved with a change of scenery in 2013. Moving to Porvoo meant a new direction for her career, that of a part-time teacher at Aalto University. This left her with enough time to pursue other projects.

‘We decided to move and I went back to Aalto University. I wanted specifically to be a part-time teacher to free the necessary time and space to do other things as well. Now as a freelancer this has become possible and I am very satisfied with the current situation. I went back to a point in my life I had previously occupied, but which had not felt like home until now.’

Peltomaa has experienced new dimensions of being a teacher as she has been responsible for planning teaching periods as well as implementing them. Integrating historical, theoretical and practical art education into teaching has forced Peltomaa to face new challenges.

‘In its way it is an inspiring environment. You have to stay alert and constantly aware of what is happening in art and design. You can’t hide behind history when contemporary art is part of the curriculum.’

Peltomaa has also started to contribute regular columns for Antiikki & Design magazine (‘Antique & Design magazine’) as well as a guide for potential art buyers.

‘At the moment I am writing a bit lengthier guide for buyers for Antiikki & Design magazine. I explain how prices are determined and what the buyer should pay close attention to. In short, I get to explain what lies behind the price tag. This is a continuation on a theme to my latest book published in 2013, Mikä arvoksi antiikille, taiteelle ja vanhoille tavaroille (‘How to appraise antique, art and old things’).’

– I work in intense periods. The time in between, I use to recharge my batteries in silence, surrounded by nature. Photo from the Åland Islands, by Tuija Peltomaa.​
– I work in intense periods. The time in between, I use to recharge my batteries in silence, surrounded by nature. Photo from the Åland Islands, by Tuija Peltomaa.​


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