Kuntsi (1913–1984) was born in Jyväskylä, Central Finland, but at the age of five, after the Finnish Civil War, he moved with his family to Vaasa. In 1934, he graduated as a Master of Business Administration in Helsinki. He started his career in his father’s footsteps at the Vaasa Steam Mill Corporation, where he worked in various positions such as commercial director, deputy managing director and member of the board until his retirement. In 1937, Kuntsi married Margareta Knuusi and they had three children. After their divorce, Kuntsi married Anna Kaarina (Kaisa) Kaukoranta, Master of Arts.
Kuntsi’s childhood family consisted of his father Kaarlo, mother Helmi (née .Kiljander), a one year older brother Risto and a younger sister Sinikka. The atmosphere of his childhood home nourished the awakening of enthusiasm for art, and later Toivo Talvi, a teacher of drawing at the upper secondary school, encouraged both Simo and his brother Risto in their interest in visual arts. The members of the Kuntsi family belonged to the Vaasa Art Society. In the 1920s, Kaarlo began to furnish the family’s home with works by Finnish artists, which he purchased from the exhibitions of art societies and directly from local artists. Simo was allowed to accompany his father when he went to choose paintings for their home, an activity which was very important to the boy. His aspirations to embark on the career of a professional artist, however, were never accepted by his father.
Kuntsi started collecting art in the 1950s. At first, he collected old Finnish art but later, in the early 1960s, also became interested in Finnish contemporary art. Together with his wife Kaisa, he collected international art from the 1950s up until the 1980s. In an interview for the magazine Suomen Kuvalehti given in 1983, Kuntsi expressed his passion for collecting art: “I’ve never been extravagant by nature, nor have I become carried away or lived the high life. For me, art is the luxury in which I indulge.”