The Stockholm archipelago bounds 14 different islands, forming a network of connected neighborhoods framed by complex and calming waterways. Each district has its own distinct and captivating personality, offering cutting-edge design, Scandi fashion, vibrant architecture and culinary tradition as well as innovation. The Swedish capital is also celebrated for its rich cultural heritage, boasting three UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as a thriving art scene. From rustically-crafted folk art to bold geometrical graphics, here’s where to find the best art in Stockholm:
Formerly an area of military significance, the island of Skeppsholmen today is home to some of Stockholm’s most popular museums, including Moderna Museet. Established in 1958, the state museum houses Swedish and international modern and contemporary art, with the aim of preserving and promoting 20th and 21st century art. The impressive collection of over 100,000 paintings, prints, photos and videos includes pieces from leading figures of the previous century, including Picasso, Dalí and Matisse. Alongside the permanent collection, the Moderna Museet hosts regular exhibitions showcasing homegrown and global talent. Exhibitions in the past have featured the fascinating psychedelic multimedia of Yayoi Kusama and the King of Pop Art, Andy Warhol. Until May, the museum will present a retrospective of the daring performance artist Marina Abramović, including almost-daily live performances from the artist herself.
Enjoy Stockholm’s beautiful watery landscape with a boat ride to Artipelag, situated in the municipality of Värmdö. The art hall – founded by the entrepreneur behind successful baby product manufacturer, Babybjörn – combines art, stunning natural surroundings and excellent food to create a true feast for the senses. Located in over 20 acres of sprawling woodland, the hall unites Nordic and international artists, as demonstrated in the upcoming exhibition between British ceramicist and author Edmund de Waal and renowned Italian painter Giorgio Morandi. The Artipelag has also spotlighted the country’s sartorial talent, with a recent exhibition, Fashion Stories, dedicated to the work of Swedish designer Lars Wallin. After an afternoon admiring the art in the hall, a meal at the acclaimed restaurant is the perfect end to the Artipelag experience. The dining room boasts an exquisite menu, custom-made furniture and large panoramic windows looking onto breathtaking woodland views.
Galleri Magnus Karlsson
Originally located in one of Sweden’s oldest cities, Västerås, Galleri Magnus Karlsson moved to the capital in the late 1990s; today, the gallery is one of Sweden’s leading galleries for contemporary art and is housed in the prestigious Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts. The gallery focuses on showcasing the work of emerging native artists both to the city and on an international platform, exhibiting Swedish talent at renowned art fairs, such as the Frieze Art Fair. Galleri Magnus Karlsson has produced global successes, including Mamma Andersson and her husband Jockum Nordström. From 2008-2010, the gallery was recognized consecutively as the best gallery in Sweden, and regularly holds exhibitions in its ground floor gallery.
The island of Djurgården attracts some 10 million visitors every year on account of its historical buildings, monuments, museums, galleries and theme park, Gröna Lund. Amongst these attractions is the Nordiska Museet, Sweden’s largest museum of cultural history. With over 1.5 million items of Swedish history, from the 1500s to today, the museum is a cornucopian treasure trove of over 500 years of Scandinavian life. Alongside everyday items such as table settings and shoes are the more rare and extraordinary, including examples of past Swedish art trends. One of the current exhibitions at the Nordiska Museet focuses on Swedish folk art of the 18th and 19th centuries, created by the agricultural community with honesty and an appreciation of the surrounding nature. This exhibition looks at the unforeseen impact of these rustic works by craftsman with no formal training, providing a source of inspiration for today’s designers and crafters.
Formerly a private residence, the Hotel Diplomat was converted into a luxury hotel by its owners, the wealthy Malmström family, in 1966. The early 20th century Art Nouveau style building sits by the Nybroviken harbour, and extends its impressive appearance within the building’s walls. Classic Scandinavian design is complemented by the family’s passion for art, with the work of Swedish artists displayed proudly in the corridors of the hotel; as well as contemporary artists such as David Svensson and Anneè Olofsson, Old Masters can be admired whilst roaming this charming hotel. The hotel also organizes guest exhibitions of contemporary photography in the first floor lounge alongside its exhibitions of recognized artists. Until the end of March, Stockholm-based artist Wolfgang Lehmann’s photography exhibition, Landscape and Symmetry, is on display.
Pontus Silfverstolpe is Co-Founder of Barnebys.