Five centuries of the Swedish Silver from the collection of the Röhsska Museum
Ottawa - October 24, 2006
The National Gallery of Canada is showcasing, from today until 16 January 2007, some 100 examples of the silversmith’s craft from the collection of the Röhsska Museum in Göteborg, Sweden. The objects in this exhibition, ranging from teapots and bowls to candlesticks and shakers, illustrate the history of the silversmith’s craft in Sweden and its international influences from the seventeenth century to today.
“I thank the Röhsska Museum for offering us this unparalleled opportunity to discover Swedish design by visiting the different periods in the evolution of silversmith through these objects from their rich collection. When examined more closely, they explain how Swedish design evolved to become an internationally recognized signature,” commented Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery in Ottawa.
In this way, the seventeenth century pieces evoke the importance of the exchanges between Sweden and Germany, since a number of Swedish silversmiths studied in that country while German silversmiths immigrated to Sweden. Changing course and influence, the German style gave way in the eighteenth century to a more sober style attributable to the French ascendancy over silver design. The French influence prevailed until late in the eighteenth century as the Swedish artists adopted the rococo motifs that they had seen in Paris. Then, the archaeological discoveries at Pompeii awakened the interest of Swedish artists in classical forms.
In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the silversmith’s craft in Sweden underwent a major transformation with the arrival of industrialization and the mechanization of production. In the twentieth century, as a result of international currents such as Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement, the silversmith’s craft in Sweden returned to handicraft objects and rediscovered tradition, combining craftsmanship and industrial production to create luxury objects.
This exhibition was created and prepared for touring by Sweden’s Röhsska Museum, with support from the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, the Swedish Institute, the city of Göteborg and the Embassy of Sweden in Ottawa.
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