The Art Bulletin of Nationalmuseum Stockholm is a journal devoted to art history. It is published in English twice a year with a content that ranges from older master paintings to contemporary design. This, the first part of Volume 27, focuses primarily on acquisitions in 2020.
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Two Large Covered Beakers with Filigree Ornamentation by Rudolf Wittkopf
Magnus Olausson and Martin Olin
The two filigree beakers with covers in silver gilt, made by Rudolf Wittkopf (d. 1722) in Stockholm in 1698, are not only notable examples of Swedish goldsmiths’ work from the end of the 17th century, their history also tells of a dramatic diplomatic episode in the history of relations between Sweden and Russia. The beakers were among the presents given to Tsar Peter I by the ambassadors of the Swedish king Charles XII, in the autumn of 1699.
A Seated Amour – A Drawing by Charles-Joseph Natoire Related to his Painting Apollo and Clytie for the Royal Palace in Stockholm
A drawing of a seated Amour by Charles-Joseph Natoire (1700–1777), recently acquired by the Nationalmuseum, can be said to underline the central role of the art of drawing in his oeuvre. In the present article it is posited that it was created as a finished work onto itself and should be viewed as an example of the possibilities Natoire found primarily in drawing.
The Vatican from the Road to Ponte Mola – A Drawing by the Amateur Artist and Patron of the Arts Sir George Howland Beaumont
Sir George Howland Beaumont (1753–1827) was one of the most prominent British amateur artists and important patrons of the arts of his time. The present article concerns a formerly anonymous 18th century drawing acquired by the Nationalmuseum, here decisively attributed to Beaumont. The work is a concrete example of the artistic output of this influential judge of taste and perfectly reflects both his position in society and his artistic connoisseurship.
A Writing Bureau from Magistrate Asplind’s Workshop. A Gift from a Friend
A writing bureau dating from 1810–20 by the ornamental painter Johan Nils Asplind (1756–1820), has been generously donated to the Nationalmuseum by Margareta Leijonhufvud through the Friends of the Nationalmuseum. Asplind was active in Falun between 1779 and 1820. He produced ornamental paintings for various manor houses and on furniture he ordered from local cabinetmakers, to which he selected suitable designs from a range of originals. The writing bureau has united the influences of Chinese lacquerwork, the painting of the French rococo, and Gustavian furniture design.
In the Shadow of Horace Vernet. A Swedish Artist in 1820s Paris
This article is about the Swedish artist Alexander Clemens Wetterling’s (1796–1858) encounter with the art and artists of Paris in 1826–27. It introduces us to artistic training in the city, to important networks, and to Wetterling’s take on the struggle between Classicists and Romantics at the famous Salon of 1827. The article is based on a combined reading of Wetterling’s letters and several of the study drawings by him from his stay in Paris, recently acquired by the Nationalmuseum.
Intimate Portrait Drawings after 1800. From Physiognomy to a New sensibility
The subject of this article is the way in which physiognomy in art underwent a transformation, around the turn of the century 1800, that involved a greater sensibility in capturing the soul of the sitters. As examples may be mentioned, on the one hand, two recently acquired portraits of unidentified female sitters by Francois Gérard (1770–1837), on the other hand, Christen Købkes’ (1810–1848) portrayal of the two-year old Carl von Nutzhorn. In the article these two works are compared to others by Claude Hoin and Jean-Baptiste Wicar.
The Contours of the Unknown Smith
The painter Ludvig August Smith (1820-1906) is hardly a household-name and has in fact long remained a shadowy figure in Danish art history. In recent years, however, a number of his finest works have come to light and helped rescue him from oblivion. The Nationalmuseum has succeeded in assembling an exquisite group of Smith's early paintings and drawings, presented here as a key part of his contribution to Danish art.
Fanny Churberg and Maria Wiik
Fanny Churberg (1845–1892) and Maria Wiik (1853-1928) are examples of Finnish 19th-century women artists with promising careers. Churberg was known for her dramatic landscapes, and Wiik for her intimate portraits and genre paintings. This article explores two of the Nationalmuseum’s latest acquisitions, Churberg’s A Forest Stream, Study (c. 1871) and Wiik’s Self-Portrait (c. 1886) that strengthen the collection of Nordic women artists.
Auguste Rodin’s La Terre – A Rediscovered Sculpture in the Nationalmuseum’s Collections
Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) fundamentally changed the art of sculpture through his pursuit of simplified forms reduced to the most essential and artistically perfected. Traces of the artistic process, such as casting joins, became part of the expression. The sculpture La Terre was probably shown at the General Art and Industrial Exposition of Stockholm in 1897. When the exposition ended, Rodin offered to donate the plaster to the Nationalmuseum, but the Museum refused, which created a cultural scandal among Sweden's more radical artists. The gift was instead received by Oscar II. The sculpture was missing for a long time, but was recently identified in the Nationalmuseum's collections in connection with an inventory.
Bust of a Woman, Variant of Andante Patetico by Alice Nordin
In 1899, Alice Nordin (1871–1948) sculpted a woman's head deeply immersed in a listening pose she called Andante Patetico (Kulturen i Lund). The title was inspired by the slow third movement in Hugo Alfvén's (1872–1960) violin sonata Op. 1, of the same name. Alfvén and Nordin had met in Paris for a few turbulent months the year before. The Nationalmuseum's newly acquired sculpture NMSk 2395 is closely related to Andante Patetico but with some variations. It is probably a variation on the theme made a few years later. The sculpture Andante Patetico was described in an interview from 1903 as a motto for the entire Alice Nordin production.
A Series of Portraits of Acquaintances, Friends and Family by Ivar Arosenius
The article is about several portraits by Ivar Arosenius (1878–1909) acquired by the Nationalmuseum. It is a highly interesting series of portraits which the artist executed between c. 1903 and 1909. These pure symbolist works show us that Arosenius had an extraordinary aptitude and intuitive understanding for the inner workings of portraiture and that he should be counted among the foremost Swedish portraitists of his time.
Agda Holst’s Portrait of Ulla Bjerne
The figure we encounter in Agda Holst’s (1886–1976) portrait from 1927 is a self-assured young Ulla Bjerne (1890–1969), who was used to sitting for portraits. Several of the leading Swedish artists of the day drew and painted her. In the Nationalmuseum’s newly acquired portrait, we can sense influences from Holst’s teacher André Lhote and his interest in the painting of Paul Cézanne.
HI-gruppen – A Collection of Craft Furnishings
The Swedish HI-gruppen (the HI Group), formed in 1957, consisted of seven craftsmen (H for hantverksmästare) and nine interior architects (giving the I). The Nationalmuseum’s collection now has eleven of the total 100 objects developed by the group; the first was acquired at their first exhibition in 1960. The most recent acquisition from HI-gruppen is the high chair HI 56 that was donated by Stig Lönngren in 2020.
Big and Small Bowl by Carsten From Andersen. A Gift of Contemporary Silver
Big and Small Bowl by the silversmith Carsten From Andersen is the first donation to the Nationalmuseum from the newly started Ulf Gillberg–Lennart Agerberg Foundation. It is a very generous private initiative that started its activities in 2020. The foundation's purpose is to promote the purchase of primarily contemporary objects made of silver, with the exception of jewellery, regardless of nationality. Through the foundation, they hope to be able to contribute to the development and continued existence of the craft.
Inger Blix Kvammen. Jewellery on the Interaction of Life, Art, Culture and Nature
Inger Blix Kvammen’s art jewellery talks about the indivisible interaction of life, art, culture and nature among nomadic cultures and native peoples. Her works deal with identity, and questions about who I am, why I am who I am, where I come from and where I am going run through her artistry. The Nationalmuseum’s recent acquisition Eternity Cap Kanin 2 is included in Blix Kvammen’s Tundra Archives series, which is part of the artistic project titled Memory Archives. This was inspired by her meetings with the Nenets people in northwest Russia in 2008 and 2014.
Shepherd Playing his Flute – A Proposed Attribution of a Painting Long in the Collections of the Nationalmuseum to Bernhard Keilhau, Called Monsù Bernardo
Bernhard Keilhau (1624–1687) must surely be viewed as one of the foremost artists hailing from Scandinavia, from any century. However, he is largely unknown in Sweden and there are no previous works in the collections of the Nationalmuseum attributed to this artist. The present article concerns a proposed attribution to Keilhau of a work long in the collections of the Museum and with the provenance of the Marshall of the Royal Court Martin von Wahrendorff (1789–1861).
A Double-Sided Portrait Miniature Attributed to Sir Henry Raeburn (1756–1823)
A striking and meticulously painted double-sided portrait miniature of an older man on one side and a younger man on the other side was gifted by the collector Consul Hjalmar Wicander to the Nationalmuseum in 1927 as being a work from the later 18th-century English School. By careful comparison with a small group of other miniatures and drawings this double-portrait is now presented as a significant work from the 1780s Scottish School and indeed a significant youthful achievement from the early career in Edinburgh of the great Enlightenment portraitist in oils, Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823).
“Sweden’s Greatest Artist”: The Reception of the Landscapes of Anna Boberg
Anna Boberg was once celebrated as “Sweden’s greatest artist”, but is today mostly forgotten in Swedish art history. It has been argued that one explanation for this is that little was written about Boberg’s landscape painting. However, this article presents ongoing research at the Nationalmuseum which has begun to uncover the rich literature on her work, its reception, and her legacy within Swedish art history and beyond. In particular, this article looks at her influence on American landscape painting.
Editors: Ludvig Florén, Magnus Olausson and Martin Olin.
Editorial Committee: Ludvig Florén, Carina Fryklund, Eva-Lena Karlsson, Helena Kåberg, Ingrid Lindell, Magnus Olausson, Martin Olin, Daniel Prytz and Cilla Robach.
The publication has been funded by the Friends of the Nationalmuseum.