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Utopia & Reality: Modernity in Sweden, 1900-1960, edited by Cecilia Widenheim

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Cecilia Widenheim, editor

The twentieth century was characterized by an obsession with the impulse to be “modern.” New times demanded new ideologies and models of social organization that in turn stimulated new forms of art, architecture, photography, film, and design. This beautiful book examines how modernity was expressed in Sweden during the twentieth century. More than two hundred illustrations document the work of artists, photographers, industrialists, designers, and architects whose ideas and practices, rooted within modernism and the modern movement, became a part of the vital heritage for which Sweden is still renowned.

The contributors to the volume discuss the impulses behind modernism, the concepts attached to it, and its expression in a variety of media. They consider the work of those artists who at the beginning of the century ventured out to the great European centers, Paris and Berlin, as well as those who stayed at home to depict a society in transition. They also look closely at the work of architects who shaped Swedish functionalism, of designers who created new consumer goods, industrial designs, and unique objects, and of photographers who added their own unique perspectives to the changes in the modern world.


Table of Contents

Susan Weber Soros

David Elliot and Nitte Nygren


Prophets and Neniers
The idea of Modernituy in Swedish Tradition
Sverker Sorlin

Peter Cornell

Utopia and Reality
Aspects of Modernism in Swedish Visual Art During the First Half of the Twentieth Century
Cecilia Widenheim

Moderism and Public Art
Per Hedstrom

Turnpikes and Blind Alleys
Modernism from the Perspective of the Provinces
Jeff Werner

Differencing Modernism
Swedish Women Artists in Early Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Culture
Shulamith Behr

The Technologies of Modernism
Sven-Olov Wallenstein

The Wish Museum
Athe Art Museum and Moderism
Gertrud Sandqvist


The Roots of Moderism in Swedish Architecture
Eva Eriksson

Utopia of the Everyday
Swedish and Un-Swedish in the Architecture if Functionalistism
Eva Rudberg

The Architecture in Focus During the First Half of the Twentieth-Century
Bjorn Linn


Design for Modern People
Cilla Robach

The Last Modernist
The Rise of Industrial Designers as a Profession
Gustaf Rosell

Tradition and Innovation in Swedish Graphic Design
Marie-Louise Bowallius


"You've Got to be Modernistic"
Photogrphers' Way to a Modernistic Attitude
Leif Wigh

Fine Grain and Brave Angles
Modernism in Swedish Photography as Reflected in the Photographic Press
Niclas Ostlind


'This Modern Establishment alled the Movies'
Modernity and Modernism in Swedish Feature Film
Bo Florin

Film as Art- A Modernist Movement
Henrik Orrje

Happy Transitions
On the Encounters between Art, Music, Dance, Poetry, and Stage in the Era of Modernism
Soren Engblom



List of Exhibited Works



Shulamith Behr
Teaches at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London

Marie-Louise Bowallius
Lecturer in Deisgn History, specializing in Graphic Design

Peter Cornell
Professor of Modern Art Theory and the History of Ideas at the Royal University College of Fine Arts

Soren Engblom
Curator at Moderna Museet, Stockholm

Eva Eriksson
Teaches Architectural History at Stockholm University

Bo Florin
Researcher in Film Studies at Stockholm University

Per Hedstrom
Curator at the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Bjorn Linn
Professor Emeritus in Architectural Theory and History at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg

Henrik Orrje
Administrator of the Swedish Institute's programme for International Cultural Exchange

Cilla Robach
Curator of the Applied Arts Collection of the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm

Gustaf Rosell
Civil Engineer

Eva Rudberg
Architect, Senior Lecturer in Architectural History, and a researcher at the Museum of Architecture in Stockholm

Gertrud Sandqvist
Rector at the Malmo Art Academy

Sverker Sorlin
Expert on the History of Ideas and Professor of Environmental History at Umea University

Sven-Olov Wallenstein
Philosopher, Art Critic, and Editor of the art journal Material

Jeff Werner
Lectures in Art History at Gotland University

Cecilia Widenheim
Curator of Swedish and Scandinavian painting and sculpture at Moderna Museet, Stockholm

Niclas Ostlind
Curator at Lilkevalchs konsthall, Stockholm


3.90 LBS

Other Details


11.8 x 9.1 x 1.2 in.

Page count
328 pages, 300 illustrations

Publication date