Everything was singing a new song:
Stockholm – Paris returnIn the 1910s, Paris was a melting pot of ultra-modern art. This was where artists from every corner of the earth met to exchange ideas and see each other’s work. Paris became a hotbed of avant-garde culture, where writers, musicians and artists could try new lifestyles and ways of expressing themselves. “The bustle of the big city, the night cafés, tango and the underground trams, the automobiles and electric billboards – everything was singing a new song,” wrote the painter Isaac Grünewald when recollecting his Paris years.
Nils von Dardel
Débit de Tabac, Senlis, 1913
© Nils von Dardel/BUS 2012
On their return to Sweden, Sigrid Hjertén and Grünewald, who had both studied at Matisse’s school in Paris, tried looking at Stockholm from a different perspective, and with a new, daring colour scheme. In Hjertén’s large painting Studio Interior we sense a personal drama featuring several roles – woman, wife, mother and modernist.
Nils Dardel went to Paris in 1910 and was soon part of the circles that were exploring cubism, with Picasso and Braque as a few of its most influential proponents. Vera Nilsson was also in Paris for a few years around 1910. In her sketchbooks she has portrayed the dynamic street life, with prams, automobiles and open umbrellas, according to cubist principles.
A key figure on the Paris scene was Rolf de Maré, director of the Ballets Suédois in the 1920s. Early on, with Dardel as his advisor, he put together an excellent collection of works by Picasso, Brancusi and Braque, which he later donated to Moderna Museet. De Maré also produced the film Entr’acte, based on a script by Francis Picabia. Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp played leading parts, and the film music was composed by Erik Satie.