Isaac Grünewald, Dahlias in vase with city view in background, oil on canvas on panel,
70 x 57 cm, signed Grünewald.

Sweet and Salty
Stockholm in art
15 june - 5 july & 5 – 17 august

Opening hours Mon – Fri 10–18 Sat 12–16


Whether you call it Venice of the Nordics or Eken, there are few who do not have a relationship with, or for that matter an opinion about, the capital that rests on the islands where the Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. The exhibition Sweet and Salty: Stockholm in Art illustrates the continuities and changes that characterise the Scandinavian metropolis. Some elements of the cityscape have succumbed to the ravages of time, while others still stand as unmissable landmarks. With a selection spanning three centuries, the exhibition juxtaposes vast expanses of woodland, buildings and urban motifs with the hustle and bustle of the city.

In a city where the rattle of wagons over cobblestones was heard as much as the creaking of cranes, the tolling of church bells and the whistle of steamboats, there was a smell of tackle and trains, hay and smoke, but also cement and bricks in a city that was constantly growing. One of the main merits of visual art is that it reflects many more values than the purely artistic, and the paintings on display also tell the stories of the people who populated the city. Using a variety of materials and techniques, the artists convey a sense of how urban life, as much as the cityscape, has evolved over the centuries.

From Erik Dahlbergh's fascinating views of the imperial city, Johan Fredrik Martin's picturesque views of its Gustavian counterpart, and C.A. Rothstén and Ehrnfried Wahlqvist's spectacular views of Stockholm's inlet to Gösta Adrian-Nilsson's expressive cubist telephone tower and Sigrid Hjertén alongside Isaac Grünewald's modernist depictions of the new city, the presentation draws full-toned portraits of Stockholm's faces in the form of painterly shots in an exposé where the union of sweet and salty reaches its full artistic expression.


Selected Works

Gösta Adrian-Nilsson (GAN) Telephone tower, watercolour
partly with pencil signatures on cardboard,
49 x 39 cm, signed and dated G ∙ A-N 17.

Adrian-Nilsson (GAN)

1917 was a very productive year for Gösta Adrian-Nilsson (1884–1965). He moved into a studio apartment five floors up on Kungsbroplan. There he had a view of the city and several of his city motifs were created during the years in the studio. GAN was a stroller. He liked to walk around the city streets and observe people and city life. He was interested in everything that was modern and new: electricity, trams, restaurants and cars. The impressions from his walks were transferred into paintings once back in the studio. GAN never painted in front of the subject and very rarely made any sketches. GAN called his cityscapes urban syntheses. In his paintings, he combined different elements to form a coherent whole, the definition of a synthesis. From his studio, GAN had a view of the Telephone Tower, among other things.

Anna Palm Stockholm inlet from Saltsjö, watercolour and zinc white, 44,5 x 72,5 cm, signed Anna Palm.

Anna Palm

In this fresh summer picture, Anna Palm (1859–1924) has chosen to depict Stockholm from a different angle than the otherwise typical view of the Royal Palace. Here she has positioned herself somewhere between Waldemarsudde and Biskopsudden on southern Djurgården, near the water below Frisens Park. At the time of the watercolor's creation, Prince Eugen had not yet acquired the plot at Waldemarsudde, so the nature around the old linseed oil mill was still quite wild. The eye is automatically drawn to the spreading old alders in the foreground, their long, dark branches stretching out over the water's edge and forming intricate patterns against the lush greenery behind them. In the foreground, the waters of the Salt Lake shimmer in a variety of tones, from bottle green and steel gray to baby blue and turquoise. It is clear that Anna Palm loved water; here it is so vividly portrayed that you almost think you can hear the waves lapping against the stones on the shore.

Helmer Osslund View from Söder towards Kastellholmen and Kungl. Djurgården, oil on greaseproof paper
on cardboard, 25 x 34 cm, signed and dated HELMER OSSLUND SHM -97.

Helmer Osslund

Before Helmer Osslund (1866–1938) decided to devote himself wholeheartedly to painting at the end of the 1890s, he worked for several years as a designer and porcelain decorator. The current View from Söder towards Kastellholmen and Kungl. Djurgården was made in connection with the exhibition of some of his ceramic works at the General Art and Industry Exhibition in Stockholm in 1897. At the top right of the painting, you can see the so-called Great Exhibition Hall, designed by the architects Ferdinand Boberg and Fredrik Liljeqvist. The white, croc-like building with its dome and four 'minarets' was the main pavilion of the exhibition. Built entirely of wood and other temporary materials, it was demolished shortly after the exhibition.

Johan Fredrik Martin View from Rödbodtorget towards Old Town and Riddarholmen, watercolour on paper, 16,5 x 22,5 cm. Executed in the 1780s.

Johan Fredrik

In the rich and very personal View from Rödbodtorget towards the Old Town and Riddarholmen, Johan Fredrik Martin (1755-1816) provides a view from the Painters' Academy, now the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, at Röda Bodarna towards Riddarhuset, Riddarholmen, Strömsborg and Mälaren. The picturesque cityscape in the background has been brought closer to the viewer and invites detailed study. The composition is typical of the Martin brothers, who offer a localised and amorous style of painting that demonstrates their virtuosity as Stockholm painters. The place lives on in the name Rödbodtorget, which today is an open traffic square between Fredsgatan and Jakobsgatan on Norrmalm in Stockholm, between the Central Palace and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

Erik Dahlbergh Stockholm from Norrmalm towards the Old Town and the castle Tre kronor, ink and wash, 15,5 x 31 cm.

Erik Dahlbergh

Erik Dahlbergh (1625–1703) was a count, soldier, draughtsman, architect and civil servant. He is best known to the general public for his topographical plan Suecia antiqua et hodierna, a work that would occupy him for the rest of his life. Over a long period, Dahlbergh and his colleagues produced an enormous number of sketches and drawings of towns, castles and manor houses for the work, often favouring grandeur over accuracy. In the present view of Stockholm in the age of the Great Powers, taken from Norrmalm, we are dealing with a more topographically and architecturally credible representation, which is as much a view of the city as it is an insight into a bygone Stockholm.

Sigrid Hjertén, Towards the evening, Stadsgården, oil o canvas,
73,5 x 100,5 cm, signed HJERTÉN. Executed around 1934.

Sigrid Hjertén

In To the evening, Stadsgården, Sigrid Hjertén (1885-1948) returns to one of her earliest favourite motifs: the ships and cranes along Stockholm's quays. Already around 1913, after she had moved with her husband Isaac Grünewald and their son Iván to Katarinavägen in Södermalm, Hjertén was fascinated by the bustling, lively environment of the harbour areas surrounding their home. The following year, Isaac purchased a large studio at the top of the brick building that then housed the Saltsjöbanan railway station, very close to Slussen. From there, there was a sweeping view of Strömmen and the quays below, and it was this view that would inspire them both to create a variety of compositions for many years to come.




opening hours:

monday-friday 10-18
saturday 12-16 during exhibitions