Swedish Women Artists

Nationalmuseum Sweden

Rediscover artists that were once forgotten. There were many women artists in Sweden during the 19th century.  Feminist scholars rediscovered them in the 1980s, since they had been left out in traditional art history.  Nationalmuseum was part of that research field and have since continuously curated exhibitions about these artists. 

Popular, forgotten, popular again
Nationalmuseum holds a large collection of artworks by women artists from the 19th century. Breakfast Time by Hanna Pauli is today regarded as one of the true highlights of the museum.

The use of light and the thickly applied paint outraged conservative critics when this painting was exhibited in the 1880s. Hanna Pauli had just been studying in Paris.

Berthe Morisot was one of many women Impressionist painters. She took part in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and since then belonged to the core of the group.

There are more than 200 paintings by Anna Boberg in the collections of Nationalmuseum. This one is a study of the phenomena aurora borealis - northern lights.

Anna Boberg in her studio in Stockholm. In 1901 she had made her first visit to the Lofoten islands off the coast of Norway. She returned some thirty times to paint in different light conditions.

Swedish artists were part of a cosmopolitan artscene. At the turn of the 19th century, Swedish glass came to the forefront. Ellen Meyer worked at Reijmyre Glassworks, one of the major producers.

In the studio
Nationalmuseum has recently acquired interesting sketches from women artists' studios. 

In Sweden, women artists and writers managed in the 1870s and 1880s to carve out considerable space for themselves on the public art scene, shaking the male norm of the artist to its foundations.

The Nude
The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm opened to female students already in 1864. There, female students had the same opportunity as men to draw from nude life models.

Amalia Lindegren was the first woman in Europe who was awarded a state travel scholarship in 1850 to study art abroad.

Lindegren's paintings were among the most reproduced in Sweden in the 19th century. Subjects as this, Sunday Evening in a Farmhouse in Dalarna, were used in the fostering of Sweden as a nation.

The Swedish sculptor Ida Matton studied at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. Like many Swedish women artists, she exhibited at the Salon in the 1880s.

Jeanna Bauck and Bertha Wegmann made a series of epoch-making portraits of each other in the 1880s. They contributed to altering the view of the female artist and broke down traditional norms.

Jeanna Bauck and Bertha Wegmann shared a studio in both Münich and Paris.

Alice Nordin won many prizes for her sculptures and travelled widely in Europe. In 1905 she was appointed the most prominent woman artist in Sweden by the magazine Idun.

This modernist vase by Betzy Ählström looks like it could have been made today. The technique was extremely advanced for its time.

Richard Bergh has depicted Julia Beck as The New Woman, but chosen not to portray her in her professional role as an artist. Beck was a leading figure in the Scandinavian artists colony in Paris.

Depictions of water lilies, inspired by Japanese woodcuts, were popular among European artists. Beck made this painting 1888 in Normandy, Monet's famous series of water lilies came ten years later.

Opening soon
If you liked this exhibition, please come visit Nationalmuseum when we reopen after five years of refurbishing. Women artists of Scandinavia will have a prominent place in our 19th-century display of our collection. We are sure you understand why.
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