Anna Petrus was a Swedish sculptor, industrial designer and dancer with a unique, powerful artistic expression, renowned for her designs for Svenskt Tenn. She came from a wealthy family in Uppsala and got her education at Chelsea School of Art in London, Althins målarskola and Kungliga Konsthögskolan (Royal Institute of Art) in Stockholm. Following her studies she worked with materials such as granite, marble and iron, inspired by by Greek mythology in her creations. She developed a distinct style, where women from the myths were rendered strong and assertive rather than passive and weak. She was part of a group of female artists, among them Siri Derkert, who fought for space in the conservative and male dominated art world. 

She debuted with a set of linoleum prints at the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö in 1914 and again in Stockholm in 1916 with sculptures with her characteristic expression. In 1920 a fire in her studio destroyed most of her works, and became a turning point in her artistic career. Recuperating from the blow, she travelled to Italy and North Africa, looking for new inspiration. When she returned to Stockholm, she started working with pewter, a material that at the time was looked upon as an old-fashioned and base material. She made trays and table tops inspired by North African smoking tables, and soon started collaborating with the influential architect Uno Åhrén around the designs. 

Anna Petrus was one of the earliest and most prominent revivers of using pewter in industrial design and her contribution made a big mark. She worked with the firms Herman Bergman’s Konsgjuteri and Svenskt Tenn during the 1920s, creating her iconic sculptural lion designs, many of which are produced by Svenskt Tenn to this day. During this period she was also commissioned several prestigious decorating assignments in collaboration with the architect Carl Bergsten, among others. She withdrew from the design scene in 1930, perhaps due to the emergence of functionalism, that had less room for her dynamic style. However, her artistry has prevailed and is now as highly acclaimed as ever. 

Gunnar Nylund was one of the most influential ceramicists and designers of the Swedish mid-century period. He was Rörstrand’s creative leader from 1931 until 1949 and as such propelled the artistic work at the factory and served as mentor to younger artists, among them Carl-Harry Stålhane and Hertha Bengtsson. 

Nylund was a dedicated functionalist, who brought ideas of democratizing stoneware and creating beautiful, qualitative and affordable everyday items for the people to Rörstand in the mid-1920s. The factory had at the time lost its former leading market position, but Nylund’s efforts gave it a great reboot. He designed ceramic kitchenware inspired by the ideas of Le Corbusier and Bauhaus, for use in homes, restaurants and inside refrigerators (a progressive idea in the early 1940s when it was launched). He is best known for his exquisite decorative stoneware items which include an abundance of vases, wall reliefs, sculptures and animal figurines. The materials range from velvety smooth stoneware to rough and chunky chamotte. 

Danish born, Gunnar Nylund started his career in Denmark following art studies, a year of architecture studies and years of private lesson from his sculptor father, the artist Felix Nylund. He worked for Bing & Grøndahl early in his professional life and started the ceramic studio Nylund & Krebs, later Saxbo, with his colleague Nathalie Krebs in 1929. He returned to Bing & Grøndahl throughout the years as a freelance designer. He also worked for the ceramic studio Nymølle from 1957 to 1961.

Gunnar Nylund had a long and active career that except for stoneware included bathroom furnishing designs for Ifö, glass vases for Strömbergshyttan, a dinosaur sculpture for Bromölla kommun and several public works. He was an inventor who explored ideas for energy production and many other areas. He was active as a ceramicist into the late years of his long life. 

Nylund is held in high esteem today for his beautiful stoneware and exquisite glazes that continue to awe and satisfy the senses. 

Carl-Harry Stålhane was one of the stars among Swedish ceramic artists during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, whose designs are just as highly regarded and sought-after by collectors today. He was born in Mariestad, close to Lidköping where the Rörstrand stoneware factory was located. He early expressed artistic aptitude as an amateur actor and illustrator, and in spite of lack of support from his father, he looked for work at Rörstrand which was the area’s creative hub. Stålhane began work at Rörstrand as an eighteen year old, decorating stoneware vases. His remarkable talent was noticed by Isaac Grünewald who was at Rörstrand as a guest artist, and who made Stålhane his assistant. Stålhane subsequently went on to study painting at Grünewald’s school in Stockholm and sculpture at Academie Colarossi in Paris.

At Rörstrand, where he was employed from 1939 to 1973, Stålhane designed unique stoneware, serially produced decorative items and tableware, large public decorations and sculptures. He was an innovator who drove forward the evolvement of ceramic artistry and design, from the slender, graphic vases of the 1950s to the brutal, expressive style of the 1960s, deeply influencing his contemporaries. He was instrumental to Rörstrand as a creative leader and brand representative, and his work and magnetic personality were fundamental in maintaining the company’s status. From 1963 to 1971 he was head teacher in ceramics and glass at Konstindustriskolan in Gothenburg, making his mark in a new generation of ceramicists and artists. In 1973 he ended his employment at Rörstrand due to the changing landscape in the industry where artistic freedom had to give increasing way to market forces. He then founded the ceramic studio Designhuset, where he and a team of other artists and throwers designed and produced stoneware in a smaller scale compared to Rörstrand but with greater freedom. Stålhane worked at Designhuset until his death in 1990.

Carl-Harry Stålhane had 37 separate exhibitions of his work during his career between the years 1948 and 1990 and he received many prestigious awards, among them a Gold Medal at the Milano Triennial in 1955. His work is represented in many museums, among them Nationalmuseum, Röhsska muséet, MoMA and Victoria & Albert Museum. Aside from his work with ceramics, he also worked as an interior designer and creative lead for VARA-bolagen, a company that owned and administered a chain of hotels and restaurants in the southwestern part of Sweden.

Sylvia Stave is a most interesting representative of Swedish mid-century design with her immaculate, sober designs that lead her to become lead designer of the firm C. G. Hallberg as a 23 year old in 1931. She worked for C. G. Hallberg for ten years before suddenly quitting her trade completely and settling down as a house wife in Paris.

Ingeborg Lundin was a Swedish glass artist, whose 1950s and 1960s designs are among the most influential of that era. Lundin got her education at Konstfack in Stockholm and started working at Orrefors directly after her graduation in 1947. She stayed at Orrefors until 1971, redefining the art of glass design with her pure, gracious, sometimes ethereal creations.  Ingeborg Lundin received the Lunning prize in 1954 and a gold medal at the Milano Triennale in 1957.

Inga-Britt “Ibe” Dahlquist is one of Sweden’s most interesting modernist silversmiths, originally from the island of Gotland.  She had her breakthrough in the 1950s with her characteristic organic silver jewelry combined with local natural elements such as fossils and stones. Dahlquist also worked for Georg Jensen from 1965 and onwards, creating pieces that were more strictly modernist, however with organic expressions that resonated with her work in her own studio.

Ibe Dahlquist shared a studio in Visby with fellow silversmith Olof Barve for several decades. Barve executed the jewelry while Dahlquist more often focused on the designs.

Carl-Axel Beijbom (1909-1971)

The story of the striking elmwood tables from C. A. Beijbom began when Carl-Axel Beijbom, who ran the family farm Simlingegården in the south of Sweden, found an elmwood plank in the attic in the early 1960s. It was unusually beautiful and inspired Carl-Axel Beijbom, an artist at heart with an eye for beautiful and interesting objects, to make it into a table top. Beijbom discovered that elm trees that grow around where people live or in an avenue and consequently are regularly trimmed, develop a certain kind of lively veins.

Carl-Axel Beijbom was an inspiring person with the ability to gather people around him. Guests and neighbors who saw the table asked to have one made for them and word about it spread from mouth to mouth. Beijbom was quick to realize the potential and sold the farm animals, turning the barn into a wood workshop. Beijbom’s tables, mostly in the form of coffee or sofa tables became high in demand, however the production was limited and every single table was made to order. The C. A. Beijbom workshop was active from the mid-1960s until the turn of the century, with production peaking during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Carl-Axel’s sons Christer and Peter continued the manufacturing after Carl-Axels passing, well trained in the trade by their father. To this day they get requests for new tables, but they gracefully decline. 

Fred Leyman (1919-2004)

Fred Leyman was a Swedish artist, schooled at the renowned Valand Art Academy in Gothenburg during the 1950s. Leyman worked in a distinctly modernist style influenced by the international modernist movement, music, political ideas and the environment in which he lived. He is best known for his around 40 large-scale sculptures erected in public spaces in Gothenburg and other parts of southwestern Sweden.

Fred Leyman lived on the island of Orust with his wife and children, in accordance with what he found to be ”a good life” – close to nature on a small farm with sheep and horses. He was also deeply interested in music, particularly traditional folk music. Both the open, marine landscape of Orust and the rhytmical qualitites in music were vital forces in his artistry and in the development of his personal style. Leyman used iron and steel and sometimes wood and leather in his sculptures. These are characterized by sharp and billowing graphic lines and the use of negative space, seemingly always reaching somewhere. It is an expression striking the perfect balance between abstract and concrete.

Leyman’s materials of choice were particularly suitable for large and sustainable sculptures and making public works was a substantail part of his career. However he also created many small-scale sculptures in the same, yet distilled, style of his large works. Nordlings is proud to introduce a collection of Fred Leyman sculptures made for interiors and private homes. The sculptures originate from Leyman’s estate and have never previously been available on the market.

Poul Havgaard (1936 – 2011)

Poul Havgaard joined Lapponia, the Finnish jewelry maker founded by Björn Weckström and Pekka Anttila, in 1971. Before this he had worked as a designer at Swedish ceramic studio Rörstrand from 1958 to 1960, and from 1960 onward in his own studio in Denmark. During a period 1969-1973, he also worked as a designer for French fashion house Pierre Cardin. At Lapponia, his designs continued in the company’s tradition of bold, sculptural pieces, but with an added crudeness to the finish. This perhaps due to his background as a blacksmith and sculptor. Contrast and organic flows are characteristic for his jewelry, and Havgaard often worked with kinetic designs. In this way, the jewelry is both seen and worn in movement, and becomes a part of the person wearing it.

Anna-Lisa Thomson (1905-1952)

The artist Anna-Lisa Thomson is best known for her stoneware and earthenware for Uppsala-Ekeby where she worked from the mid 1930s until her untimely death in 1952. One of her most commercially successful designs was the “Paprika” vase, which remained in production well into the 1960s. Dividing her time between Uppsala and the Swedish west coast, her motives drew inspiration from the coastal landscape, often including marine plants, flowers and starfish. She remains today one of the most popular Swedish ceramists from the time period.