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Swedish Industrial Art Exhibition

Source: Fine Arts Journal, Vol. 27, No. 6 (December, 1912), pp. 800-804
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By

Relief
in
Bronze
Inthe
RoyalCastle
at
Stockholm

Swedish

H. M.
Dreilingen
Courtesy
ofthe
Swedish
Club
ofChicago

Industrial

Art

Exhibition

By THE EDITOR
studyingthe display of art objects at
the Swedish Club, Chicago, we are imIN
pressedwiththe fact thatas a nationis,
so is its art. Or, it mightbe betterto consider race ratherthan nation and, perhaps,
to note the influenceof climateon various
races livingin the same latitude.The people
of Scandinavia, including Denmark, produce an art resemblingthat of northGermany and Russia. It is not that the
designs are the same, but the contrastof
this art with that of southern countries.
Even the painters of pictures from the
north, although they may have received
their education in one of the Latin countries,soon develop theirracial traits,when
again at home. That which is true of the
paintersis true of the industrialart workers. There is a peculiarstylein thesethings
which speaks of the locality from which
they come.

This displayat the Swedish Club of Chicago is the most importantrevelationof


Swedish talent ever gathered here, probably betterthan the collectionsent to the
Columbian Exposition in 1893. There is
a strikingillustrationof this climatic influencein the art of Finland which resembles that of Sweden very much,but has a
severerstyle. There is a gravity,and force,
and depth of tone about this Finnish art
which is more northernthan the Swedish,
and this would, the more, lead us to imagine thatnorthernart has its own character
whereverfound. There are verymanyexamples of hammerediron fromSweden, of
brass and bronze objects, very individual
designs in porcelains,in textiles and embroideries and woodwork, jewelry, bookbindingand fineprinting,all of which follows the sentimentof the race. Of course
the art of all countries is more or less

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BY JAMES

WILLIAM

PA TT IS ON

801

icrms- always flat, with no


effort at rotundity. The
workercountsoffthe threads
- so manythreadsin this direction and so many in an- untilthe patotherdirection
ternis laid out and the stitches follow the threads,square
dots of stitchesdistributedall
over, regularlyworked along
thethreads. The slippersthat
our mothersmade, on coarse
canvas,
counting out the
stitchesin various directions,
are exactlyin the same workmanship. Of course, these
forms are exceedinglyangular and the edge of the pattern is notched,as a flightof
RELIEF IN BRONZEIN THE
stepsis notched. Though this
ROYALCASTLEAT STOCKHOLM
is
Clubof Chicago a somewhatprimitiveart,it
of TheSwedish
By H. M. Drollingen- Courtesy
is more impressivethan the
scrolls
to be found in the work of
have
received, elegant
affectedby the trainingthey
In
artists.
in
Latin
is
found
fact,it is decidedlypleasespecially if the schooling
a
with
has
ure
the
France or Italy. So
dignitywhich,perhaps,
giving,
bookbinding
obtained
could
be
French
the
by no othermethod.
been strongly influencedby
have
This
to
seems
sturdysimplicityseems to pervade
binders of the past, which
of
influencedthe bookbinding
the European world. Among
the fine bronze castings are
plainlyto be seen indications
thatthesculptorswere trained
in the southern schools, although a very large number
of these bronzesare undoubtedly swedish design. They,
however, reveal the skill of
the Swedish bronze founders.
In the matterof tapestries
the northerninfluenceis very
much in evidence. We can
call to the mind the embroidered towels, aprons, pillow
cases, withflatstitchon white
linen. The method is very
simple, but impressive. The
IN BRONZEIN THE
design may be a line of birds, RELIEF
ROYALCASTLEAT STOCKHOLM
of leaf forms,or geometrical By H. M. Drollingen- Courtesy
Clubof Chicago
of TheSwedish

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8o2

SWEDISH

INDUSTRIAL

all Swedish designs,be theyin metal,woodcarvingor porcelain. One of theverylarge


displaysin this sort of embroideryis seen
in the Swedish dolls' dresses. There is
something exceedingly quaint and altogetherdelightfulin these dolls' dressesand,
as they are modest in price, one may well
look forward to the children's joys at
Christmastime. To call such simple matter art may sound strange,but it really is
purely artisticand for that reason decidedly worthtalkingabout, and the forcefuln-ess of the patterns is found in pretty
nearly everythingin the exhibition,whatever material may be used. By the way,
there are examples of tapestrywhich, in
its mannerof execution,followsthe styles
of Goblin works of Paris, thoughthe designs are utterly different. There are
carved wooden tankards,vases, boxes and
picture frames worked in this same style,
and some of themare reallytreasures. The

ART

EXHIBITION

ATHLETICPRIZE (BRONZE)
Modeled
byAronJarndahl
- Courtesy
Clubof Chicago
of TheSwedish

four hundred examples of hammeredand


enameled silver and gold, have strong
Swedish character,based on the same treatment as the embroideries.
The large display of vases and similar
objects is a real surprise. These are true
porcelains,not enameledpottery. The surfaces are beautifully colored, rare and
precious,and the royal familymake many
selectionsfromthis productto use as gifts
to fellow princes,theybeing royal objects.
Their numberis extensiveand theirprices
run fromtwo hundreddollars down to suit
the most modest purse. There is here a
threefeethighvase, decoratedwithpainted
flowers,the beautyof surface and the simplicityof the brush strokesgivinga largeness of effectthatis impressive.The colors
of theporcelainrun fromdeep,glossyblack
to the palest of grays and the tenderestof
blues. The variety of these colors is in"VESSLAN"(STUDYIN BRONZE)
- coral, pearl tones, smoke tones, fog
finite
Modeled
byOttoStrandman
- Courtesy
Clubof Chicago colors, in indescribable variations. The
of TheSwedish

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BY JAMES

WILLIAM

PATTISON

803

models, previous to casting. There is a


very strikingand originalnude figure,and
othergroups. One of these is a prize piece
used in the athleticcontests,a boldlyshaped
strongman,a boxer, flinginghimselfin an
attitude that suggests his powerful build,
and the pedestal sustainingthis figureis
entirelynorthernin sentiment. There is a
nude young man kneelingon a rock and
lookingdown at the small wild animals in
the cleft below him. The sculptoris evidentlywell educated, and the school was
probably in Paris, but the execution has
thatsimplestyle,suggestiveof nervoustension held in restraint.
We illustrate several of the series of
bronzeplacques, withthe figuresalto-relief,
by the sculptor Drollingen. These were
cast at the Bergman foundry,and were
ordered by Sweden's queen for the royal
castle at Stockholm. These are pure allegories, and in theircompositionand treatmentare Italian ratherthanSwedish. However, the boldness of the drawing,forceof
line,suggestthe nationalityof theirauthor.
By the way, theystrangelyrecall the Gates
of the Baptistryof Florence, made in the
ATVhi
BRONZE1ST
sixteenthcenturyby Ghiberti. They are
Ebiec
A.
Modeled
by
- Courtesy
Clubof Chicago
of TheSwedish
pictures in bronze, with importanthuman
The
figuresmoving in metal landscapes with
shapes are massive and monumental.
enameled
buildings,rocks and trees,Greek buildings,
same porcelain is worked into
or classical room interiors.
standformsin tigers,turtlesand weasels,
It is allowable that each of us may read
on
ing on their own feet, not mounted
whatever
natural
story he likes into an allegory.
pedestals. Their movementsare so
is
It
to
plainlyto be seen that,in one of them,
and full of the characterof the beast as
be veryamusing,and, at the same time,im- Andromeda,chainedto a rock in the raging
the approach of the terpressive. Of course, theyare purelyreal- sea, shrinksfrom
beast's back the faiththe
On
rible
dragon.
istic, but realism translatedinto porcelain.
has perchedhimin
sword
ful
hand,
knight,
One large vase is recalled, with tigers
and rescue the
creature
the
to
slay
creepingaround throughits handles. These self,
a woman with
the
But
on
left,
are absolutelylifelikeand, at the same time, maiden.
face to a
anxious
her
turns
hands
clasped
bold in manner.
in
himself
interests
who
The bronze castings have already been man of importance,
in
find
we
else
Whatever
spokenof, and theirexcellencenoted. The the outcome.
the
and
admirable
is
best of themseem to be made at the Berg- this, the composition
man bronze foundries,in Stockholm,and workmanshipof the firstorder.
In another of these placques three men
we have photographs of this sculpture,
taken at the foundry from the plaster at arms are fighting,standing over the

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8O4

SWEDISH

INDUSTRIAL

fallen bodies of the wounded. It would


seem to represent a Roman soldier in
armor, fightingwith barbarians. All this
has nothingpeculiarlySwedish about it,exceptingthat it shows great talentand is an
honor to Swedish ability. In studyingthe
subject matter,it seems as if the sculptor
himselfhad to explain the meaningto the
queen, when he came up to set them in
place. There is no criticismto be made
about them, excepting that they are not
particularlySwedish. We illustrateone of
the tapestrieshere. Upon carefulexamination,it reveals the same techniquewhich is
used at the Gobelinworks in Paris, and on
the back may be seen the mannerof working, which recalls that of nearly all tapestries of the world. In our illustrationwe
can see a knight, mounted on a horse,
thrustinghis lance into the old dragon,
whichis a storyquite universalin England,

ART

EXHIBITION

known as "St. George and the Dragon."


Any othername would do as well for this
allegory. In this case the Andromedais a
draped figureof a woman witha crownon
her head. It is an extraordinary
panel, full
of angular forms. We have to search for
the dragon's big claws and wings, but they
can be found. The colors are numerous
and brilliantand all the formsare angular.
A curve is reducedto a seriesof flatplanes.
This treatmentis immenselyeffective. It
would equally apply to a stainedglass window, but as a tapestrywall hanging the
same treatmentapplies. If this briefstatementcalls the attentionof the publicto this
very artisticcollection,it will have served
its purpose,and, if I mistakenot, the impression left on the minds of people will
awaken admirationand love for this northern art.

TAPESTRYDESIGNEDBY ALFREDWALLANDER
- Courtesy
ClubofChicago
of TheSwedish

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