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Up the Stylish Staircase: Situating the Fürstenberg Gallery and Art Collection in a Late Nineteenth-Century Swedish Art World
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation investigates the establishment (in 1885), the influence, the critical reception, and the legacy of the Fürstenberg Gallery and Art Collection in Gothenburg, Sweden. The aim of this research is to demonstrate how the gallery and the collection were products and producers of specific art-historical situations, within a particular nineteenth-century Swedish art world. This art world presents itself as a complex network of influences, in which social and economical forces are influencing art production of the time and its assimilation within the cultural fabric of society. Through five chapters, a careful examination of the collection’s artworks in their expanded environment is undertaken. A wide range of images, archival material and primary sources are presented, analyzed, and contextualized. The Fürstenberg Gallery and Art Collection are first discussed through Swedish art-historical accounts that have shaped the image of Pontus Fürstenberg as an art lover and a generous patron of modern, Swedish art. In this master narrative, the reputation of the Fürstenberg home and gallery as a base for Swedish artists working in Paris during the 1880s is established. Continuing from the gallery’s and collection’s place in art history, issues related to the emergence of the “interior” in the nineteenth century as a concept focus on how the collection was housed within a domestic setting – the Fürstenberg residence – that functioned as a public space through its gallery. The dynamic relationship between the Fürstenberg home (including the gallery) and the urban surroundings is also undertaken. The gallery becomes more than a private endeavor – as a central component of the city’s economical, cultural and social life.

Through analysis of exhibitions and collecting practices, connections between the Fürstenberg Gallery and a broader segment of the Swedish art scene are examined. A special focus is brought on the year 1885, and the moment of identification of a “modern breakthrough” in Swedish art. Artistic manifestations organized in Stockholm and Blanch’s Art Salon with the exhibitions of the Opponents are directly linked to the art scene in Gothenburg and the Fürstenberg Gallery. Finally, the dissertation demonstrates how the Fürstenberg Art Collection is the outcome of three interwoven collecting efforts: 1) a collection built on inheritance, 2) Pontus Fürstenberg’s collection from before 1880, and 3) Pontus and Göthilda Fürstenbergs joined collecting practices. The collection with apparent focus on art from the 1880s and 1890s is prominently viewed (and promoted) as representing a “young” generation of late nineteenth-century Swedish artists. However, investigations into the core of the collection points to its greater diversity. Older works (from before 1880s) are included, although many of them were never made public through display in the actual gallery. The small number of female artists represented in the collection is called into question. This study revises a prevailing view on the gallery and the collection linked to a modernist art-historical perspective. It also explores how the art world related to the modern breakthrough in Swedish art was not solely the autonomous effort of a group of artists working in exile in France. It was entangled with local art collecting and exhibition practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm, Göteborg: Makadam Förlag, 2015. , 224 p.
Keyword [en]
The Fürstenberg Gallery, The Fürstenberg Art Collection, Pontus Fürstenberg, Göthilda Fürstenberg, Gothenburg (art), Swedish Art, Nineteenth-Century Art, Patronage, Art Collection, The Opponents, Collecting Practices, Exhibition Practices, Blanch’s Art Salon
National Category
Research subject
Art History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119229ISBN: 978-91-7061-176-6OAI: diva2:845005
Public defence
2015-09-25, Auditorium 215, Humanistvillan, Frescativägen 24, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2015-09-03 Created: 2015-08-03 Last updated: 2015-08-10Bibliographically approved

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