(Exhibition text in English, referring to a QR code in the exhibition)

A Roaring Business

Name: Estrid Ericson, née Erikson
Born: 1894 in Öregrund, Roslagen, Sweden
Died: 1981 in Stockholm

Sets up Svenskt Tenn in 1924, a company that will survive all trends and new styles.

Estrid Erikson studies at the Technical School in Stockholm, now known as Konstfack (the University of Art, Crafts and Design). In 1924, she opens her business Svenskt Tenn AB on Smålandsgatan in Stockholm. Her collaborations with sculptors Nils Fougstedt and Anna Petrus are very successful. Their new, modern pewter objects receive much attention and are on display at the 1925 World Exhibition in Paris. The company grows, and in 1927, Estrid Ericson moves to new premises on Strandvägen, where the flourishing business remains to this day.

Estrid Ericson is a prominent designer of pewter objects, but also an enterprising businesswoman with a special flair for interior design. She expands her range to include home furnishings, and her collaboration with the architect and furniture designer Josef Frank is a great success. Estrid Ericson participates in several exhibitions in Sweden as well as abroad, such as the 1939 World Fair in New York.

Swedish Modernist Artist and Poet in Paris

Name: Greta Knutson-Tzara
Born: 1899 in Stockholm
Died: 1983 in Paris

Provides a significant connection between Sweden and France through her paintings and literature.

Greta Knutson moves to Paris in 1920 to study fine art under the influential artist André Lhote. In Stockholm, she has already studied at Carl Wilhelmson’s School of Art and at the Academy of Fine Arts.  In Paris, she socialises in avant-garde, artistic circles and meets the Romanian Dadaist poet Tristan Tzara.

An inheritance enables the couple to build a house in Montmartre. Designed by Austrian architect Adolf Loos, the house becomes a gathering place for the French surrealists. Greta’s own style of painting is characterised by modernist post-cubism. In 1928, her paintings are shown in Stockholm together with the Swedish modernist group of artists called ‘the Optimists’.

During World War II, she goes to Provence and joins the French Resistance. She helps refugees cross the border into Spain. After the war, she stays in the south of France and devotes herself to her art and writing. She exhibits regularly in both France and Sweden. At the age of 81, she presents her last exhibition, in both Paris and Stockholm.

Creating Art from Life – an Early Feminist

Name: Frida Kahlo
Born: 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico City
Died: 1954 in Coyoacan, Mexico City

An uncompromising artist who goes her own way and creates unforgettable art.

In 1925, Frida Kahlo is on a school bus when it crashes. Her spine, pelvis and foot are broken. She has to live with the pain caused by these injuries for the rest of her life. She is bedridden for long periods of time and undergoes numerous surgical operations. During her stays in hospital, she begins to paint.

In 1929 she marries the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. The couple are politically active in the Mexican Communist Party. Frida Kahlo will eventually lend her house, La Casa Azul (The Blue House), to the Russian revolutionary Lev Trotsky during his exile in Mexico. The Blue House, her childhood home, opens to the public as a museum in 1959.

Frida Kahlo continues to paint throughout her life and her paintings are very distinctive. She paints self-portraits, her own world of emotional relationships, her pain. She combines the contemporary styles of modernism and surrealism with Mexican folk art. Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti, a photographer working in Mexico at the time, focus their work on issues related to women, art and politics.

Lacking 3-D Vision

The 1920s see the development of the new modern art. Painting, crafts, fashion and film flourish. In the new democratic world that emerges after the First World War, women and men work side by side. Especially in the young avant-garde circles. New schools, where design, craftsmanship and industry meet are established, and education is more inclusive.

The Bauhaus school in Weimar is one of these schools. However, when women become too dominant in the metal and ceramics departments, a provisional women’s department is created, specialising in weaving. The reason given by the school management is that women lack three-dimensional vision, so they should not be involved in architecture or sculpture. Textiles, on the other hand, are two-dimensional.

More about 2 20s (2 tjugotal)