Ane Gyllenberg’s (1891-1977) great interest in the spiritual aspect of human life and its effects at the physical level formed the basis for his will to donate a significant part of his wealth to a foundation that would sponsor medical research. He wanted the research to focus on the human emotional and spiritual impact on the physical being and blood diseases. He also wanted the Foundation to support the Rudolf Steiner approach to medical research. For these reasons, he and his wife decided to establish the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation in 1949. The application for founding the Foundation was approved by the Department of Justice on 9th February 1950.
The first grant was given in 1950. It became a tradition that annually on Ane’s birthday, the 24th of December, an announcement appeared in the newspapers stating that applications for grants were being accepted. Since then grants have been given every other year. The first Gyllenberg symposium was arranged in 1972.
From the beginning, the founders were determined to turn their home into a museum so that their art collection would be available to the public. In 1966, they donated the museum estate to their foundation, and two years later passed on their entire art collection. After their death in 1977, a gallery was built in conjunction with their home. Ten architects were invited to submit models for the gallery, and the winning project, “Art and Inspiration” by Per-Mauritz Ålander was the winner. The museum was opened in December 1980.
After he completed his basic education, Ane studied at a business school in Turku. His first job was with the headquarters of a local bank, after which he was hired by the brokerage firm of Tom Sahlberg. In 1919, Ane married Signe Säfström (1896-1977), who worked as a clerk in the bank. The couple had twin daughters, as well as a son who died at birth. After financially difficult years in the 1920s, Ane became the owner of the Tom Sahlberg brokerage firm in 1925. He kept the old name for several years, and changed it to the Ane Gyllenberg Brokerage Company only in 1936.
After the death of his son in 1932, Ane’s long-standing interest in anthroposophic philosophy deepened. In his search for spirituality, he began to admire the teachings of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. The three cornerstones of Ane’s spiritual life were formed: a faithful commitment to Freemasonry, an anthroposophic world view, and a great appreciation for visual arts.