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Makt och konstsmak: sociala och politiska motsättningar på den svenska konstmarknaden 1920-1960
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2002 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Power an Taste in Art : Social and Political Conflicts on the Swedish Art Market 1920-1960 (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation studies the relationships between actors on the Swedish art market during the period 1920-1960. The sociological theory of Pierre Bourdieu is used as an analytical framework.

One part of the thesis studies different social groups on the market. Firstly, the relationships between different galleries and art dealers are investigated. The dealers found themselves in a changing economic and symbolic hierarchy. The "traditional" art dealers sold less and less during the period, whereas the "modern" art galleries, which were subjected to both symbolic and physical attacks at the beginning of the period, sold more. The victory of modernistic art on the market is shown by using, among other things, company reports as a source. Secondly, the relationships between consumers are discussed. I compare the groups buying "modern" and "traditional" art in Stockholm at three points in time when new art movements were introduced by new galleries on the market: 1935 (socially involved expressionism), 1947 (concretism), and 1955 (informal art). The consumers of these different art objects are compared to those who invested in the late nineteenth century art (plein air painting, impressionism and national romantic art) at the same points in time. Within the dominating class there were obvious differences and opposing tastes. The registers of sold art items are the basis for this study.

Another part of the thesis discusses different social groups within the state. Certain groups of artists and galleries (introduced in the first part of this dissertation) were particularly successful in their attempts to take possession of the state. They were both members of the State Art Council (1937) and decided what art the state should purchase on the market for decorating their public buildings, and were also on the Business Council for Art and Antiques (1949) where they decided which dealers would be licensed to import and sell artists work on the Swedish market. The Swedish import restriction on "inferior" art during the period 1939-1953 is discussed, and among other things the Swedish and German art politics is compared. The Nazi regime gave room for a nostalgic traditionaI art and prohibited "inferior" modernistic art, while the Swedish state prohibited an amateur nostalgic and traditionaI art, and decorated their public buildings with exactly the modern art which was prohibited in Germany. The main material comes from the State Art Council Archives.

The aestethic controversies were also political. During the 1930s modernism and bolshevism were synonymous in many people's eyes. The conservative bourgeoisie lost the battle over the officially sanctioned culture in Sweden during that same decade.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen , 2002. , 455 p.
Keyword [en]
art consumption, class, taste, modernity, art market, state, regulation, economic sociology, Stockholm
Keyword [sv]
makt, klass, konstkonsumtion, smak, modernitet, konstmarknad, reglering, stat, ekonomisk sociologi, kultursociologi, Stockholm
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-54059ISBN: 91-974305-2-8OAI: diva2:391868
Public defence
2002-06-07, Hörsal 7, Hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-01-26 Created: 2011-01-25 Last updated: 2014-12-10Bibliographically approved

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