Carl Ek and art historian Karin Alexis
“SWEDISH ART AT the Residence of The Swedish Ambassador in Washington, D.C.” was the topic of an interesting speech by art historian Karin Alexis at a SACU (Swedish-American Cultural Union) luncheon in Washington on Thursday, October 20.
MS. ALEXIS discussed the impressive art collection at the residence, a Spanish Revival Style building in Northwest Washington, D.C. The mansion, which was purchased by Sweden in the 1950s, was built in 1923 and the architect was Arthur B. Eaton.
STARTING OFF with two pictures of Vikings and the House of Sweden, Ms. Alexis stated that Swedish art “didn’t catapult from Vikings to House of Sweden.” Ms. Alexis then gave a thorough account of the country’s art history.
AMONG THE artists who are represented at the ambassador’s residence are famous Swedish painters and sculptors such as Johan Sergel, Elias Martin — “a well-known father figure in Swedish painting,” Alfred Wahlberg, Anshelm Schultzberg, Bruno Liljefors, Prince Eugen and Carl Milles.
BUT MS. ALEXIS also talked about Swedish art and architecture in a broader context, and the development during the centuries, for example the introspection and nationalism that came during the first part of the 19th century. Among other things she mentioned that Bruno Liljefors still today is one of the great painters of wildlife, and that Anders Zorn probably is the most well-known Swedish painter abroad.