About Johannes Mikkel

The Johannes Mikkel (1907) art collection is one of the few art collections obtained in Estonia in the post-war period. In 1995 he donated his collection of West-European, Russian, Chinese and Estonian masterpieces to the Art Museum of Estonia.

In 1721, when the Kadriorg Park was landscaped, a small kitchen building with a bread store, tablecloth store and an ice cellar was built near the palace. Of all the auxiliary buildings only the ice cellar has preserved. In 1754, a single-storey house was built instead of the dilapidated kitchen-building; during rebuilds organised by Emperor Nikolai I in the late 1820’s the house got a mansard roof and an upper floor for living space. The Classicist exterior of the house served as a model for the restoration of the building of the Art Museum of Estonia in cooperation with Laansoo Architectural Bureau and architect Katrin Etverk. The renovation, commenced in 1996, was finished in June and the Mikkel Museum was opened in the former castle kitchen as a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia.

Johannes Mikkel (1907) was born in the Parish of Võnnu in South-Estonia. He received business and technical, later also humanitarian education in Tartu and took interest in art. After WWII, he had to settle down in Tallinn, where he worked for several decades in the commercial sphere.

Working as a manager in several antique shops in the post-war period, Mikkel had a wonderful opportunity to restore his destroyed collection. Now, in addition to old graphics and paintings, he also took interest in the 18th century Chinese, Russian and West-European porcelain and ceramics. In the 1970’s Mikkel was lucky enough to obtain the collection of graphic art of one of the best-known collectors of the first decade of the last century Woldemar Oldekop. The graphic part of the private collection of Johannes Mikkel belongs among the richest and most valuable collections in Estonia, including works done in the oldest technique – German 16th century woodcuts and – as the pearl of the collection – four etchings from Rembrandt. Mikkel took particular interest in West-European painting of the 16th–19th century; the share of Neatherlandish masters is the greatest in the collection.