When Sigrid Hjertén travelled to Paris in 1909 to paint at Henri Matisse’s academy, she had already completed studies in textile art. Her international debut came at an exhibition in 1915 at Herwarth Walden’s radical gallery in Berlin, where Sigrid Hjertén’s rather daring colour scheme was much-admired by the German expressionists. Soon her self-portrait adorned the cover of the legendary magazine Der Sturm.
Can the story of Sigrid Hjertén’s art be told without telling the story of her life? Like many women artists, Sigrid Hjertén fought hard to cope with her different roles – as a mother, a wife and a professional – and a modernist. Recognition from the broader public did not come at once. When her first solo exhibition opened in 1936, she had already been for some time in a mental institution and was too ill to attend the opening.