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Art and Design in Sweden and Swedish America

This guide is for anyone looking to conduct research on Swedish and Swedish American art and design using Swenson Center resources.

Welcome!

This guide is for anyone looking to conduct research on Swedish and Swedish American art and design using Swenson Center resources.

The Swenson Center is located at Augustana College and is a national and international research center for the study of Swedish-American history and relations. 

Art and Design in Sweden and Swedish America

Keywords / Search terms:

Here are some search terms to try in the library catalog or other search areas. Using the asterisk (*) is a wildcard option, that will return variations on a search term. For example, art* will return artwork, artist, etc.

  • Art*
  • Paint*
  • Design
  • Folk art
  • Decorative arts
  • Décor*
  • Konst*
  • Photog*

Possible research questions:

  • How did Swedish immigrants continue artistic traditions in the United States?
  • What role did art play in the lives and homes of Swedish immigrants?
  • What were some notable collaborations between artists in Sweden and the United States?
  • What are some of the key elements of aesthetic, design, and function in Scandinavian art and décor styles?

Possible artists to research:

  • Charles and Sofia Haag
    • Charles was a sculptor and woodcarver best known for his carvings that expressed the struggle of labor and immigration as well as his whimsical woodcarvings that paid homage to nature. Some of his better-known works include The Immigrants, The Strike, The Watchman, and Labor Union (later known as In Union There is Strength). His best-known woodcarvings come from his Spirits of the Forest series. Sofia was a Swedish-American weaver and textile artist who invented her own loom. 
    • Swenson Center holds the manuscripts of these two artists. The Augustana Teaching Museum of Art holds some works from both artists. 
  • Birger Sandzén
    • Painter known for landscapes. Swenson Center and Augustana Teaching Museum of Art hold some of his works. Swenson Center also has some of his correspondence. He taught art at Bethany College in Kansas for many years and there is a museum there dedicated to him (Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery)
  • Olof Krans
    • A self-taught folk artist, he lived and worked in the communal society of Bishop Hill, Illinois. The Olof Krans Museum at Bishop Hill (not far from Augustana!) holds many of his works on display. 
  • Gustaf Tenggren
    • A chief illustrator for The Walt Disney Company in the late 1930s. Worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi and Pinocchio.