Past Exhibitions

A Community on the Prairie: Bishop Hill, Illinois

Summer 2016

The Bishop Hill Colony was a religious community founded in Illinois in 1846 by Eric Janson and his followers. The small Swedish colony survived for only 15 years, but it left a lasting mark on immigration history. The exhibition, A Community on the Prairie:  Bishop Hill, Illinois, describes the formation of the Bishop Hill Colony by Swedish immigrants, the dissolution of the colony, and the growth of the village of Bishop Hill into modern times.

This traveling panel show is accompanied by Bishop Hill artifacts from our own collection. A Community on the Prairie will be on view on through the summer.

The exhibition was originated by the Bishop Hill State Historic Site, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and organized by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association. A Community on the Prairie:  Bishop Hill, Illinois was made possible through the generous support of the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and the Swedish Council of America.

Workers of the World, Awaken! The Life and Legacy of Joe Hill

September 7, 2015-September 4, 2016

Celebrate the spirit of Labor Day by learning more about Joe Hill (born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund), the Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, cartoonist, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World. Executed in 1915 by the State of Utah for a double murder in Salt Lake City, he quickly became a martyr for the cause of organized labor. His songs and letters, as well as tributes to him, galvanized striking workers throughout the 20th Century. Now, 100 years after his death, Hill’s life and work still inspire.

Indian Nation: Indian Motorcycles and America

April 12-August 23, 2015

The story of the Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company closely mirrors the history and attitudes of 20th century America. Indian was founded in 1901 by George Hendee, an American bicycle racer and builder, and Carl Oscar Hedstrom, a Swedish immigrant and machinist. The exhibition features rare Indian Motorcycles from 1903 – 1953. Visitors will discover Hedstrom’s role in the creation of motorcycling as we know it today and explore the company’s response to the Great Depression, World Wars I and II, and post-war American culture.

Did you know that a Swedish-American engineered the first American motorcycle? It happened in 1901 when a smart and dashing young man named Carl Oscar Hedstrom (1871-1960), a Swedish immigrant and machinist, and George Hendee (1866-1943), an American bicycle racer and builder, founded Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company. The two first met in 1899, when Hendee took notice of a motorized bicycle that Hedstrom had modified. They developed a plan to form a company and produce their own “moto-cycle.” They chose “Indian” as the company name, signifying an entirely American product and as a reminder of America’s pioneer tradition.

Carl Oscar Hedstrom (he went by Oscar) was born in the parish of Lönneberga, Kalmar County, Småland, Sweden. In 1880, when Hedstrom was nine years old, he and his family emigrated to the United States and settled in Brooklyn, New York. Soon after the move, his father gave him his first bike, which Hedstrom treasured. He spent hours each day exploring his new city by bicycle and took special interest in the mechanics of his new ride. At sixteen, Hedstrom took a job at a watch factory, and soon rose to the status of toolmaker. This mechanical talent also expressed itself in his hobby, building and racing bicycles.

It was when Hedstrom debuted his motor-driven pacer, known as “The Hedstrom Creation” or the “infernal machine,” at a bicycle race at Madison Square Garden, that the established manufacturer, George Hendee, took notice of his talents. Hedstrom produced their first prototype machine in 1901 and built about six motorcycles in total that year. Hendee Manufacturing Company, which initially produced Indian motorcycles, sold two of them. Two years later, Indian was a recognized leader in motorcycle design and a brand that was absolutely dominating board track races. Hedstrom’s inventions, especially his superior carburetor, pushed the Indian from a bicycle with a motor on it to a smooth-moving, efficient device for endurance traveling—and fast traveling! By 1913, Hendee Manufacturing was the world's top producer of motorcycles and the iconic Indian was firmly established as America’s first motorcycle.

Oscar Hedstrom left Indian in 1913. One of his friends died in a racing crash and there was friction in the company over whether to strive for progress or profit. Hedstrom favored progress; the investors wanted only profit. Having made a personal fortune, Hedstrom, then 43 years old, retired to a beautiful home on the Connecticut River, which he spent years meticulously renovating. His retirement consisted of hunting, fishing, and building champion racing boats that he also personally piloted. In his later years, Oscar became an avid hunter, hand carving his own gunstocks to fit his grip.
Oscar Hedstrom helped put the world on two wheels. His engines inspired competitors to innovate and improve the mechanics of motorcycling. His legacy lives on in the traditional styling of the Indian line (recently revived by Polaris Industries), which is still known for its classic look, utility, and versatility. 

Indian Nation: Indian Motorcycles and America features rare Indian motorcycles from many eras, including a restored 1903 single engine Indian, a 1911 experimental prototype that Hedstrom and his friend, Ben “The Terrible Swede” Swenson, personally worked on a 1916 power plus with sidecar, a 1947 Indian Chief, plus engines, historic photos, racing memorabilia, and much, much more!

Do You Know Pippi Longstocking?

March 23, 2014 through February 16, 2015

When a red-haired, horse-lifting, freckle-faced, nine-year-old girl jumped exuberantly from the pages of Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump) in 1945, she quickly made her way into the hearts of children and adults throughout Sweden. Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002), Pippi’s creator, once said that she wrote for her own inner child, which perhaps speaks to Pippi’s success.

With her special brand of exuberance, it was not long before Pippi Longstocking was captivating readers of all ages with her adventurous nature, generous spirit, and self-assured independence. Pippi became a symbol of freedom, especially in post-WWII Europe, which was then emerging from the crushing influence of authoritarian Germany. Now, translated into over ninety languages—from Afrikaans to Yiddish—Astrid’s Pippi has inspired the young and the young-at-heart worldwide.

This original ASHM exhibition engages visitors with Lindgren’s delightful sense of humor and love of play. Life-sized tableaus of Ingrid Vang Nyman’s lively and timeless depictions of Pippi’s world will set the scene for creative play. Kids will have the opportunity to go inside Pippi’s home, Villa Villekulla, and experiment with one of Pippi’s favorite activities: cooking in her kitchen. You can also test your strength by lifting Pippi’s horse, explore “Thing-Finding” in Pippi’s cabinet of treasures, and scrub-a-dub-dub the floor with sponges on your shoes. Visitors will also discover how Astrid Lindgren influenced Swedish attitudes toward childhood; what childhood in Sweden looks like today; and how Pippi may, or may not, embody Swedishness.

This exhibition is made possible by generous gifts from Ulla Dagert and Paul Muther, IKEA, SWEA Philadelphia, Kuehlthau Family Foundation, SWEA New Jersey, Swedish Council of America, Marianne Baeckstrom, Evert Christensen, Jr., and an anonymous contributor.

We are also grateful for the support of the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, George C. and Esther Ann McFarland Foundation, Auxiliary, Midsommarklubben.

Support provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

Digital Pippi, Works by Jessie Titley

Many thanks to artist, Jessie Titley, whose digital artwork about Pippi Longstocking will be featured in the Kalm Seaborg gallery and in the exhibition Do You Know Pippi Longstocking? (March 23, 2014-February 16, 2015).

Born in 1992 in Luyksgestel, Netherlands, Jessie grew up surrounded by creative people. As a tiny toddler she was always drawing and painting; the walls were never safe from her crayons! Nowadays, crayons and walls have been mostly replaced by digital painting, but she still loves working traditionally. In 2013, Jessie graduated from SintLucas college where she studied  Game Art. After graduating, she continued studying Game Art at HKU University of the Arts.

She currently lives and studies in Hilversum, the center of television, radio, game design and other media in the Netherlands. She has illustrated for video games, a children’s drawing book, private portraits, and other educational purposes. Jessie would like thank Astrid Lindgren for creating this wonderfull character, who will always be her childhood hero.

The Enduring Designs of Josef Frank

September 22, 2013-February 23, 2014

Austrian-born designer and architect Josef Frank (1885–1967) was a leading pioneer of Swedish Modern design, and many of Frank’s timeless textile designs and furnishings remain in production today. Unlike the severe approach to modernism taken by many of his contemporaries, Frank emphasized comfort and informality, producing fanciful designs inspired by nature. Frank’s lavish use of bright, bold colors and floral patterns quickly became popular with a host of Swedish designers and clientele.

Josef Frank came from a middle-class Jewish family residing in Vienna. Following his studies at the Vienna Institute of Technology, in 1910, he established an architectural practice. Frank later launched the home furnishings business Haus & Garten in 1925, which offered a host of quality items including furniture, textiles, and carpets. Estrid Ericson (1894–1981), who established Svenskt Tenn in the 1920s, was impressed by Frank’s work and she asked him to design products for her store in Sweden. The rise of Nazism in Vienna, coupled with the city’s economic depression, prompted Frank and his Swedish wife, Anna Sebenius, to move to Stockholm in 1933.

After the German occupation of Denmark and Norway in 1940, the Franks decided to leave Europe and temporarily move to New York City. While living in Manhattan, Frank created what is arguably his most innovative and substantial set of textile designs over the course of two years (1943–44). In 1944, Frank sent the new designs to Estrid Ericson in Sweden in time for her fiftieth birthday, where they were received with great enthusiasm. Since they were first printed, Frank’s New York designs have formed the core of the Svenskt Tenn’s textile offerings.
After the war, the Franks returned to Stockholm. In addition to textiles, Josef Frank produced new furniture designs for Svenskt Tenn and other decorative objects. Frank and Ericson’s collaborative efforts culminated during this period. The two worked together on a variety of projects, designing interiors for a number of clients until the 1960s.

This exhibition is possible through a generous loan from Svenskt Tenn, Stockholm, Sweden. And by the generous support of the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, George C. and Esther Ann McFarland Foundation, Auxiliary, Midsommarklubben, and an anonymous foundation. Support provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

Snapshot-Peak Into the Past

May to December 2013

In this great year of anniversaries and commemorations (and anniversaries of commemorations), the American Swedish Historical Museum invites you to look back with us and explore the history and evolution of the museum’s interior. In honor of ASHM’s 75th anniversary of our 1938 dedication, visitors will find throughout the museum a special selection of photos from our historic photos collection. Spanning from 1927-1975, the Snapshot exhibition takes you on a journey of continuity and change. Discover which architectural designs have transcended time, and which interiors have changed in our continuing effort to remain a dynamic and progressive museum. 

Art by SIGELLE

April 14 to August 25, 2013

Art by SIGELLE is an exhibition of multimedia artworks by Sigelle Oldenburg (1900-1984). Born in Stockholm as Sigrid Elisabeth Lindforss, Sigelle was a trained opera singer, music teacher, mother, and artist who regularly created vibrant works of color and collage. Sigelle used simple tools—felt markers, paper, and her boundless imagination—to create whimsical shapes and forms, usually giving her work away as gifts to her friends and family.

Art by SIGELLE will be complemented by a space in the gallery devoted to art making, where visitors are encouraged to discover their own creative side. One of the primary goals is to inspire children's engagement with, and enjoyment of, Sigelle Oldenburg's use of color, pattern, and common materials. Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to express themselves visually and play with color, shape, texture, and line using interesting art supplies, suggested techniques/projects, and other educational tools. Children can even hang their colorful creations in the very same gallery as SIGELLE for other museum visitors to enjoy.

The Swedish American Line

August 2, 2012 to February 24, 2013

Beauty, comfort, entertainment, and style. From 1915— 1975, the Swedish American Line (SAL) offered its passengers all of this and more. From its early days as a passenger fleet for immigrants to its lavish “Around the World” cruises of the 1960s, SAL played an important role in connecting Scandinavia and America. This exhibition offers visitors a rare glimpse into the “White Viking Fleet’s” history on the high seas, its exquisite style, and stories from people who remember it all.

The objects that make up this marvelous exhibition represent the work of Torsten Torstensson, who has one of the largest collections of Swedish American Line memorabilia in the world. Torsten, who was trained as an archivist, began collecting emigration period materials while conducting research on his relatives who immigrated to the United States in the 19th century. His research and collecting inevitably brought him to the Swedish American Line and to all the wonderful souvenirs, keepsakes, and other pieces of material culture that the “White Viking Fleet” left behind (usually by way of former passengers) when it closed in 1975. 

Collecting beautiful and interesting things from the Swedish American Line is made somewhat easier by the fact that during its time (1915-1975) the company was utterly committed to quality. Fine China, gorgeous interiors detailed by famous designers, Orrfors and Kosta crystal, and even the officer’s uniforms were all top of the line products. Whether setting an elegant dinner table or properly stocking the children’s game room, SAL and the on-board staff made sure that passengers had what they needed to be comfortable.

Of the fleet’s six decades of service Torsten says, “This company created a bridge between our two countries. SAL was an excellent ambassador of Swedish technique, culture, service, and art”. The SAL also served as a meeting place for Swedes and Swedish Americans, as they sailed between Göteborg and New York, where friendships and lasting connections were made. Over the past year, ASHM has collected stories and photographs from former passengers, whose memories will serve as a supplement to the unique collection on display.

Forged Sculptures of the Steneby Collection

March 11 to June 24, 2012

The American Swedish Historical Museum is pleased to present our special exhibition, Forged Sculptures of the Steneby Collection, featuring metal work by Swedish-American sculptor, Albert Paley. A native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, Paley is a long-standing international leader in the metal/sculptor arena where he is recognized for developing blacksmithing into the context of public art and site-specific commissions.

This exciting exhibition opportunity is the result of collaboration between the Steneby School of Art and Design in Dals Långed, Sweden, the Röhsska Museum of Fashion, Design and Decorative Arts in Gothenburg, Sweden and the American Swedish Historical Museum. In the fall of 2011, Steneby invited Paley to be an artist-in-residence, working alongside students experimenting with the endless possibilities of forging metal. For two intense weeks of working, experimenting, teaching and toiling, Paley brought his blacksmithing tradition to a whole new level.

For Albert Paley, Steneby’s workshop offered him the rare opportunity to focus on pushing the boundaries of forged iron. Paley’s approach to this material is that of a composer’s approach to sound. Sensible to its plasticity and pliability, he gives us the impression that this iron hard material can play any notes, under the right conductor. “These sculptures”, Paley explains “were not preconceived or redesigned. The work therefore was one of improvisation responding directly to the forms that were developed during the working process. The individual elements, having their own character, would create a dialog and relationship one to the other.”

While students assisted him with firing, grinding, and hammering the huge bars and rods of Swedish steel, the vision and aesthetic of each sculpture—and the collection as a whole—is all Paley’s. “As a body of work, this collection stands out from my other work because of the intensely short time frame. The collection has a special uniformity to it because of that…because the pieces used in different sculptures were all being formed at the same time. It was a truly unique experience for me.” The result is 12 stunning sculptures, each one different in size, shape, form, and texture, and yet they are united by their material and by the vision and talent of their manipulator. 

For more information on Paley visit Paley Studios.

17 Swedish Designers

September18, 2011 to January 29, 2012

Since the 1950s, Scandinavian design has been celebrated throughout the world for pioneering functionalism, streamlined aesthetics, and relative affordability. Historically, Swedish design has been a largely male-dominated realm. However, in recent years an increasing number of women choosing the design profession have brought greater diversity to the field.

Early in their careers, all seventeen participating designers exhibited at Gallery Pascale, Stockholm's first gallery devoted exclusively to design. This exhibition— based on gallery founder Pascale Cottard-Olsson’s book, 17 Swedish Designers—displays their recent work. Talented women of the same generation, they share a common worldview, displaying an impressive versatility, a fearless desire to experiment, as well as determination and dedication in turning visions into reality. The exhibition consists of three to ten products from each of the seventeen designers, ranging from small items, such as porcelain and glass to larger ones such as textiles and furniture.

Knitting Along the Viking Trail
March 20-July 3, 2011

Knitting Along the Viking Trail presents the work of Scandinavian artist Elsebeth Lavold. Lavold has received worldwide recognition for her knitwear designs. She is best known for her Viking Knits Project, which she started in 1992 and she is the only Scandinavian knitwear designer with her own yarn label, called Elsebeth Lavold Designer’s Choice. A master knitter, author, business woman, and teacher, Lavold brings the designs and motifs of the Viking Age back to life in her traveling exhibition.

Blending together craftwork and ancient culture, Knitting Along the Viking Trail appeals to lovers of knitwear and textiles, as well as lovers of history and cultural experience.

This exhibition is made possible by grants from the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, SWEA Philadelphia, and an anonymous foundation.

Material Matters: Samples from the Textile Collection
2008 - 2011

A small selection of Swedish textiles from the ASHM collection ranging from the delicate embroidery of a man's wedding shirt to the bold colors of Saami costume, traditionally worn by the indigenous people of northern Sweden. Articles traditional to Swedish provincial costumes are also featured alongside watercolor depictions of such costumes produced by Philadelphia's WPA in the 1930s.

 

Go Swedish! Smörgåsbord and Beyond
June 6, 2010 - January 30, 2011

The American Swedish Historical Museum is creating an exhibition that uses the museum collections to explore Swedish food traditions and the dynamic role of food in Sweden and Swedish-American culture. Visitors will discover which foods are characteristic of different regions in Sweden, and learn how Swedish cuisine has changed over time because of trade and modernization. Visitors will also see traditional uses of essential ingredients such as fish and game, breads and baked goods, milk and cheese, and coffee and desserts. Popularized Swedish meals such as the smörgåsbord—and that other famous mainstay, the Swedish meatball— reveal the important role food plays in cultural identity, holiday traditions, and social relationships. The exhibition will open on Sweden's National Day, June 6, 2010. We will celebrate the day with a smörgåsbord that is sure to delight the palette of any foodie.  There are a lot of choices out there; make the decision to Go Swedish! And join us in a celebration of food and culture.

This exhibition was made possible by grants from SWEA New Jersey, SWEA Washington DC, and the Swedish Council of America. Additional support comes from Aquavit New York, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, IKEA Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and an anonymous foundation.

 

Nudes By Anders Zorn
April 2009 - November 2010

Twelve copperplate etchings by the legendary Swedish artist Anders Zorn are featured around the museum's balcony. Most of the nudes in this exhibit have not been on view since 1992. Although Zorn trained as a painter, he began producing etchings in 1882, following a visit with a Swedish etcher living in London at the time. Zorn’s early copperplates reproduced subjects from his watercolor paintings, which were almost exclusively portraits and nudes. In his lifetime Zorn traveled frequently between Europe and the United States, eventually settling in his native Mora, in the Dalarna province of Sweden. From 1900-1919, Zorn painted hundreds of portraits, and reproduced many of them as etchings. Although his subjects included American presidents, royalty, and prominent figures in society, his most popular works were of the common women he so often persuaded to model for him.

 

Printscapes: Impressions of Nature by Rachelle Puryear and Lars Nyberg
January 17, 2010 - May 2, 2010

The American Swedish Historical Museum presents the work of Stockholm artists Rachelle Puryear and Lars Nyberg. Puryear and Nyberg differ in methodology and style, but share a love for nature and the art of printing. Puryear creates etchings, screenprints and photogravure that originate from her impressions of nature and poetry. Nyberg’s drypoints depicting Swedish winters appear sparsely drawn, but each image erupts with detail upon closer investigation. Both artists share an interest in observation and attending to the details of life. They take a familiar section of reality, whether it’s a leaf, a building, or a tree, and present it as something new to be explored for the very first time. Visitors can use magnifying glasses to study the intricate details of the etchings and drypoints. The artists’ tools, etched plates, and paper substrates further express the diverse realms of printmaking. Come explore the scenic horizons of Sweden through the printed work of these talented Stockholm artists!

The Printscapes exhibition was organized as part of the Philagrafika 2010: Independent Projects. For information on Philagrafika 2010, and the more than 75 other independently curated projects taking place throughout the city, please visit the web site www.philagrafika2010.org. Philagrafika, the organizing body of Philagrafika 2010, is a nonprofit arts organization in Philadelphia that provides leadership for large-scale, collaborative initiatives with broad public exposure.

Click here for Press Release Printscapes
Press Release-Printscapes.pd

 

Colony to Community: The Story of New Sweden
June 7 - November 22, 2009

Colony to Community: The Story of New Sweden describes the journey of Swedes and Finns who came to the Delaware Valley in 1638 to establish the New Sweden Colony, an outpost to give Sweden a foothold in the growing fur and tobacco trades. Through rare collection objects, historic documents and images, this exhibition explores the origins of the New Sweden Colony, the cultural endurance of the settlement that made it possible for Swedes and Finns to continue to immigrate to the area in the 18th and 19th centuries and how we preserve the past by commemorating New Sweden’s legacy today.

 

Ennesbo
January 15 - May 10, 2009

Ennesbo is an artistic interpretation of the multifaceted experience of a single place.  Ennesbo is a small farming settlement in rural southern Sweden where the artist Sandra Binion's family has lived and worked for over 300 years and from which her great-grandmother emigrated to the U.S. in 1896.

The artist was drawn to the farm as she delved into her personal, familial and cultural roots. Through the richness of her time spent there, the farm became a locus for investigating broader issues of one's sense of place, the effects of landscape on individual sensibility and the transmission of cultural values across history.  Through the use of various media - a multi-channel video installation, surround sound, photographs, paintings and wallpaper - the artist conveys an immediate sense of movement and discovery in the space of the exhibition.  The visitor joins in the artist's own personal discovery of unfamiliar rooms, houses, landscapes and histories of the farm and its surroundings. Various media are used to celebrate the details of everyday activities, the endless textures of the land and lakes, and the rhythms that run through the lives of the people on the farm: rowing through water lilies in the flickering early morning sunlight, cutting grass with a scythe, rolling dough for home made coffee cake, and driving through the forest at night.

Click here for a link to the artist Sandra Binion's website>>

This exhibition was made possible at ASHM by gifts from Swea New Jersey and Swea Philadelphia. Additional support comes from The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and an anonymous foundation.

The Art of the Brick ™ Nathan Sawaya
August 23 - November 30, 2008

Nathan Sawaya is a 35-year-old New York artist who creates artwork solely from standard LEGO brick and created many new works specifically for the exhibit featured at the American Swedish Historical Museum. Nearly one million colorful LEGO pieces transformed into whimsical and awe-inspiring images brought thousands of visitors to the museum in South Philadelphia during the Autumn of 2008.

Click here to view The Art of the Brick featured on NBC10 - 10! Show - August 26>>

Click here to view Nathan Sawaya and The Art of the Brick on CBS 3 News - August 22>>

Click here to read more about The Art of the Brick>>

Click here to visit Nathan Sawaya's site >>

Norse Mythology Illustrations
by Dylan Carroll

May 31 - September 21, 2008

Dylan Carroll is a contemporary artist and illustrator specializing in mythology, folklore and fairy tales. He paints primarily in watercolor on hot-press paper and strives for an optimum blend of fantasy and historical authenticity in his work. This special exhibition opened on Viking Day.

 

Second Nature: Charles Allmond
March - July 31, 2008

The exhibition Charles Allmond: Second Nature featured wildlife sculpture and abstract pieces in stone, wood and bronze.Charles Allmond: Second Nature, is a labor of love for the Delaware sculptor. “I combine a love for nature, especially animals, with a love for working with my hands,” says Allmond. “Charles Allmond has transformed the intangible concept of the spirit of nature into tangible form” notes Karol A. Schmiegel, Director Emerita, Biggs Museum of American Art. After twenty-five years of experience with the creative process, it has “become second nature to him.”

Charles Allmond is a direct carver of stone and wood. As he works, the grain of the wood or the color of the stone give way to a creature which is modernist in its abstraction, yet eminently recognizable. The titles of sculptures often reveal larger themes present in Allmond’s work. For instance, the exhibition at ASHM features Harmony, an elegantly simple fish of smooth alabaster balanced within a perfect circle of white limestone, framed, but not constrained, by a square of dark oak. The positive and negative space, dark and light materials, rectilinear forms and curves combine in harmonious concert in this work inspired, according to Allmond, by sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957).

Allmond's work has been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries and can be found in public, private and corporate art collections. Allmond’s most recent links to Sweden were his commission to create a sculpture for the visiting HRH Crown Princess Victoria in 2003 and a 1993 contribution of an avian sculpture to the Birds in Art exhibition at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. According to Schmiegel, “Charles Allmond embraces three elements characteristic of modern Swedish art: good craftsmanship, simple design, and economy of line,” but Allmond’s connection to Sweden goes all the way back to the New Sweden Colony (1638-1655). His ancestor Morton Mortonson, Sr. was amongst the early Swedish settlers to make a home here in the Delaware Valley.

See pictures from the Charles Allmond: Second Nature opening here>>
Click to view more of Charles Allmond's work >>

Read a review of Charles Allmond: Second Nature from Art Matters here>>
Read a review of Charles Allmond: Second Nature from South Philly Review here>>

 

Drawing Us Together: Children's Book Illustrations by Marguerite de Angeli
December 1, 2007 - May 11, 2008

In honor of the reprinting of the book Elin’s Amerika, the American Swedish Historical Museum presented a small exhibition of artwork by Marguerite de Angeli. Marguerite Lofft De Angeli (1889-1987) wrote and illustrated award-winning classics of children’s literature and is one of Philadelphia’s most highly respected and best loved authors. Original works in watercolor, pen & ink and pencil were included, along with examples of dolls created as accompaniments to the author’s delightful children’s books.

 

Madeleine Hatz: Building a View
September 16, 2007- January 13, 2008

The beautiful multimedia exhibition Madeleine Hatz: Building a View surveyed seven years of the artist's work and focused primarily on paintings. “Red Bricks Flying," a large abstract composition in vibrant red/orange and ochre oil paint,was displayed at the United Nations for one year while Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson was President of the 60th Session. "Melancholia" is a series of small and medium-sized oil paintings on burlap, in a palette ranging from neutral earth tones to deep blues. "First Palettes" are works on paper with textures and vibrant colors inspired by summer in a Northern country. The "artist's statements" address art's aspirations for idealism, a search for cultural identity and language.

To view images from the September 16, 2007 exhibition opening click here>>

Come into a New World: Linnaeus and America
February 15 - July 1, 2007

The American Swedish Historical Museum joined in the celebration of the 300th birthday of Carolus Linnaeus with a special exhibition about the great Swedish naturalist who founded modern biology and named us all Homo sapiens. Through over 100 scientific specimens, drawings, manuscripts, books, and works of art, the exhibition explored the many links between Linnaeus and America. It followed his student Peter Kalm, the first trained scientist to observe North American's peoples, wildlife, and landscapes from the Delaware Valley to Canada. It presented how Franklin and Jefferson made connections between natural history and national identity -- and why Linnaean ideas still matter to Americans today.

Read more about the Linnaeus exhibition which was featured at ASHM in 2007 >>

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting Along the Viking Trail
March 20-July 3, 2011

Knitting Along the Viking Trail presents the work of Scandinavian artist Elsebeth Lavold. Lavold has received worldwide recognition for her knitwear designs. She is best known for her Viking Knits Project, which she started in 1992 and she is the only Scandinavian knitwear designer with her own yarn label, called Elsebeth Lavold Designer’s Choice. A master knitter, author, business woman, and teacher, Lavold brings the designs and motifs of the Viking Age back to life in her traveling exhibition.

Blending together craftwork and ancient culture, Knitting Along the Viking Trail appeals to lovers of knitwear and textiles, as well as lovers of history and cultural experience.

This exhibition is made possible by grants from the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, SWEA Philadelphia, and an anonymous foundation.

Material Matters: Samples from the Textile Collection
2008 - 2011

A small selection of Swedish textiles from the ASHM collection ranging from the delicate embroidery of a man's wedding shirt to the bold colors of Saami costume, traditionally worn by the indigenous people of northern Sweden. Articles traditional to Swedish provincial costumes are also featured alongside watercolor depictions of such costumes produced by Philadelphia's WPA in the 1930s.

 

Go Swedish! Smörgåsbord and Beyond
June 6, 2010 - January 30, 2011

The American Swedish Historical Museum is creating an exhibition that uses the museum collections to explore Swedish food traditions and the dynamic role of food in Sweden and Swedish-American culture. Visitors will discover which foods are characteristic of different regions in Sweden, and learn how Swedish cuisine has changed over time because of trade and modernization. Visitors will also see traditional uses of essential ingredients such as fish and game, breads and baked goods, milk and cheese, and coffee and desserts. Popularized Swedish meals such as the smörgåsbord—and that other famous mainstay, the Swedish meatball— reveal the important role food plays in cultural identity, holiday traditions, and social relationships. The exhibition will open on Sweden's National Day, June 6, 2010. We will celebrate the day with a smörgåsbord that is sure to delight the palette of any foodie.  There are a lot of choices out there; make the decision to Go Swedish! And join us in a celebration of food and culture.

This exhibition was made possible by grants from SWEA New Jersey, SWEA Washington DC, and the Swedish Council of America. Additional support comes from Aquavit New York, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, IKEA Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and an anonymous foundation.

 

Nudes By Anders Zorn
April 2009 - November 2010

Twelve copperplate etchings by the legendary Swedish artist Anders Zorn are featured around the museum's balcony. Most of the nudes in this exhibit have not been on view since 1992. Although Zorn trained as a painter, he began producing etchings in 1882, following a visit with a Swedish etcher living in London at the time. Zorn’s early copperplates reproduced subjects from his watercolor paintings, which were almost exclusively portraits and nudes. In his lifetime Zorn traveled frequently between Europe and the United States, eventually settling in his native Mora, in the Dalarna province of Sweden. From 1900-1919, Zorn painted hundreds of portraits, and reproduced many of them as etchings. Although his subjects included American presidents, royalty, and prominent figures in society, his most popular works were of the common women he so often persuaded to model for him.

 

Printscapes: Impressions of Nature by Rachelle Puryear and Lars Nyberg
January 17, 2010 - May 2, 2010

The American Swedish Historical Museum presents the work of Stockholm artists Rachelle Puryear and Lars Nyberg. Puryear and Nyberg differ in methodology and style, but share a love for nature and the art of printing. Puryear creates etchings, screenprints and photogravure that originate from her impressions of nature and poetry. Nyberg’s drypoints depicting Swedish winters appear sparsely drawn, but each image erupts with detail upon closer investigation. Both artists share an interest in observation and attending to the details of life. They take a familiar section of reality, whether it’s a leaf, a building, or a tree, and present it as something new to be explored for the very first time. Visitors can use magnifying glasses to study the intricate details of the etchings and drypoints. The artists’ tools, etched plates, and paper substrates further express the diverse realms of printmaking. Come explore the scenic horizons of Sweden through the printed work of these talented Stockholm artists!

The Printscapes exhibition was organized as part of the Philagrafika 2010: Independent Projects. For information on Philagrafika 2010, and the more than 75 other independently curated projects taking place throughout the city, please visit the web site www.philagrafika2010.org. Philagrafika, the organizing body of Philagrafika 2010, is a nonprofit arts organization in Philadelphia that provides leadership for large-scale, collaborative initiatives with broad public exposure.

Click here for Press Release Printscapes
Press Release-Printscapes.pd

 

Colony to Community: The Story of New Sweden
June 7 - November 22, 2009

Colony to Community: The Story of New Sweden describes the journey of Swedes and Finns who came to the Delaware Valley in 1638 to establish the New Sweden Colony, an outpost to give Sweden a foothold in the growing fur and tobacco trades. Through rare collection objects, historic documents and images, this exhibition explores the origins of the New Sweden Colony, the cultural endurance of the settlement that made it possible for Swedes and Finns to continue to immigrate to the area in the 18th and 19th centuries and how we preserve the past by commemorating New Sweden’s legacy today.

 

Ennesbo
January 15 - May 10, 2009

Ennesbo is an artistic interpretation of the multifaceted experience of a single place.  Ennesbo is a small farming settlement in rural southern Sweden where the artist Sandra Binion's family has lived and worked for over 300 years and from which her great-grandmother emigrated to the U.S. in 1896.

The artist was drawn to the farm as she delved into her personal, familial and cultural roots. Through the richness of her time spent there, the farm became a locus for investigating broader issues of one's sense of place, the effects of landscape on individual sensibility and the transmission of cultural values across history.  Through the use of various media - a multi-channel video installation, surround sound, photographs, paintings and wallpaper - the artist conveys an immediate sense of movement and discovery in the space of the exhibition.  The visitor joins in the artist's own personal discovery of unfamiliar rooms, houses, landscapes and histories of the farm and its surroundings. Various media are used to celebrate the details of everyday activities, the endless textures of the land and lakes, and the rhythms that run through the lives of the people on the farm: rowing through water lilies in the flickering early morning sunlight, cutting grass with a scythe, rolling dough for home made coffee cake, and driving through the forest at night.

Click here for a link to the artist Sandra Binion's website>>

This exhibition was made possible at ASHM by gifts from Swea New Jersey and Swea Philadelphia. Additional support comes from The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and an anonymous foundation.

The Art of the Brick ™ Nathan Sawaya
August 23 - November 30, 2008

Nathan Sawaya is a 35-year-old New York artist who creates artwork solely from standard LEGO brick and created many new works specifically for the exhibit featured at the American Swedish Historical Museum. Nearly one million colorful LEGO pieces transformed into whimsical and awe-inspiring images brought thousands of visitors to the museum in South Philadelphia during the Autumn of 2008.

Click here to view The Art of the Brick featured on NBC10 - 10! Show - August 26>>

Click here to view Nathan Sawaya and The Art of the Brick on CBS 3 News - August 22>>

Click here to read more about The Art of the Brick>>

Click here to visit Nathan Sawaya's site >>

Norse Mythology Illustrations
by Dylan Carroll

May 31 - September 21, 2008

Dylan Carroll is a contemporary artist and illustrator specializing in mythology, folklore and fairy tales. He paints primarily in watercolor on hot-press paper and strives for an optimum blend of fantasy and historical authenticity in his work. This special exhibition opened on Viking Day.

 

Second Nature: Charles Allmond
March - July 31, 2008

The exhibition Charles Allmond: Second Nature featured wildlife sculpture and abstract pieces in stone, wood and bronze.Charles Allmond: Second Nature, is a labor of love for the Delaware sculptor. “I combine a love for nature, especially animals, with a love for working with my hands,” says Allmond. “Charles Allmond has transformed the intangible concept of the spirit of nature into tangible form” notes Karol A. Schmiegel, Director Emerita, Biggs Museum of American Art. After twenty-five years of experience with the creative process, it has “become second nature to him.”

Charles Allmond is a direct carver of stone and wood. As he works, the grain of the wood or the color of the stone give way to a creature which is modernist in its abstraction, yet eminently recognizable. The titles of sculptures often reveal larger themes present in Allmond’s work. For instance, the exhibition at ASHM features Harmony, an elegantly simple fish of smooth alabaster balanced within a perfect circle of white limestone, framed, but not constrained, by a square of dark oak. The positive and negative space, dark and light materials, rectilinear forms and curves combine in harmonious concert in this work inspired, according to Allmond, by sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957).

Allmond's work has been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries and can be found in public, private and corporate art collections. Allmond’s most recent links to Sweden were his commission to create a sculpture for the visiting HRH Crown Princess Victoria in 2003 and a 1993 contribution of an avian sculpture to the Birds in Art exhibition at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. According to Schmiegel, “Charles Allmond embraces three elements characteristic of modern Swedish art: good craftsmanship, simple design, and economy of line,” but Allmond’s connection to Sweden goes all the way back to the New Sweden Colony (1638-1655). His ancestor Morton Mortonson, Sr. was amongst the early Swedish settlers to make a home here in the Delaware Valley.

See pictures from the Charles Allmond: Second Nature opening here>>
Click to view more of Charles Allmond's work >>

Read a review of Charles Allmond: Second Nature from Art Matters here>>
Read a review of Charles Allmond: Second Nature from South Philly Review here>>

 

Drawing Us Together: Children's Book Illustrations by Marguerite de Angeli
December 1, 2007 - May 11, 2008

In honor of the reprinting of the book Elin’s Amerika, the American Swedish Historical Museum presented a small exhibition of artwork by Marguerite de Angeli. Marguerite Lofft De Angeli (1889-1987) wrote and illustrated award-winning classics of children’s literature and is one of Philadelphia’s most highly respected and best loved authors. Original works in watercolor, pen & ink and pencil were included, along with examples of dolls created as accompaniments to the author’s delightful children’s books.

 

Madeleine Hatz: Building a View
September 16, 2007- January 13, 2008

The beautiful multimedia exhibition Madeleine Hatz: Building a View surveyed seven years of the artist's work and focused primarily on paintings. “Red Bricks Flying," a large abstract composition in vibrant red/orange and ochre oil paint,was displayed at the United Nations for one year while Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson was President of the 60th Session. "Melancholia" is a series of small and medium-sized oil paintings on burlap, in a palette ranging from neutral earth tones to deep blues. "First Palettes" are works on paper with textures and vibrant colors inspired by summer in a Northern country. The "artist's statements" address art's aspirations for idealism, a search for cultural identity and language.

To view images from the September 16, 2007 exhibition opening click here>>

Come into a New World: Linnaeus and America
February 15 - July 1, 2007

The American Swedish Historical Museum joined in the celebration of the 300th birthday of Carolus Linnaeus with a special exhibition about the great Swedish naturalist who founded modern biology and named us all Homo sapiens. Through over 100 scientific specimens, drawings, manuscripts, books, and works of art, the exhibition explored the many links between Linnaeus and America. It followed his student Peter Kalm, the first trained scientist to observe North American's peoples, wildlife, and landscapes from the Delaware Valley to Canada. It presented how Franklin and Jefferson made connections between natural history and national identity -- and why Linnaean ideas still matter to Americans today.

Read more about the Linnaeus exhibition which was featured at ASHM in 2007 >>

 

 

 

 

 
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