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Konsten att samla: En undersökning av Karl XV:s målerisamling och dess betydelse för Nationalmuseums samlingar.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
2010 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
The Art of Collecting – An investigation of Karl XVth collection of paintings and its significance for the collec-tions at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm (English)
Abstract [en]

Karl XVth, Swedish and Norwegian king 1859-1872, is considered to be one of Sweden’s most significant royal art collectors. According to the will he wrote in February 1872, his last desire was that all his paintings made by Nordic artists, after his passing away, would come into the possession of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm. From the collection gathered by the former king 486 paintings, the greater part made by Swedish artists, was selected to become state property in 1873.In this master thesis the ambition is to investigate how Karl created his collection, how well oriented he was in the contemporary Swedish and Norwegian art life, what kind of art that was represented in the collection and what his contribution meant for the museum at the time of the donation. According to previous studies a collec-tion always tells the spectators something about the collector as well as about the time for its establishing. Due to the intention to put Karl’s collection in a political-, social- and cultural context the theoretical discussion will be influenced by the main contemporary, the nationalistic and the scandinavistic, political ideologies.In the search for provenances I have researched Karl’s court accounts. Since my request to access the pri-vate archives of the Bernadotte dynasty was denied, I have not been able to study his private accounts. Further-more that also means that I did not have access to his will or his inventory of goods and chattels either. In order to establish the provenances of the donated painting I have therefore used Gustaf Upmark’s book Konung Carl XV:s tafvelsamling. In order to categorize I have divided the paintings into categories of bought/ordered, inhe-rited, gifts, lottery winnings, paintings made by Karl and unknown provenance.Collecting is an activity that has interested humans for centuries. During the 15th century art-collecting be-came popular primarily among royals and nobilities in order to establish themselves and their power as well as make sure their memory would live on even after their death. In Sweden royal art-collecting started with Gustav I in the 16th century. Among other significant Swedish royal art collectors are Queen Kristina, Queen-widow Hedvig Eleonora and King Gustav III. In common, the three of them also had planes to create a royal art-gallery at the castle in Stockholm. That was however something that none of them managed to accomplished during their lifetime.On his mother’s side Karl descended from one of Europe’s most art-loving and artistic families. From an early age he and his brothers and sister received artistic education. His interest in paintings, both his own crea-tive work as well as work made by other artists, lasted his entire life. Besides having a private tutor as an adult he also cooperated with some of the most prominent Swedish artist at the time. From 1853 he was involved, as a chancellor, in the Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm. He was a member of a number of art-associations and he supported both young, struggling artists as well as older, more established ones.Karl actively supported the building of the National Museum of Fine Arts. In the beginning the critique to-wards the museum was massive. The reason was that the museum initially only had about 100 paintings made by Swedish artists. His collection was therefore seen as a blessing and a well needed addition to the poorly num-bered collection of national art at the museum. Only 126 of the 486 donated paintings were considered to be of enough importance from a nationalistic point of view, to be included in the museums main collection. A majority of them were contemporary art depicting landscape. Nature scenery could be used as a combining element be-tween different social and ethnic groups. In Karl’s case that could also mean something that united the Swedish and Norwegian people. Other categories of paintings that were thought to have the same ability were the histori-cal paintings with motives from the prehistoric Nordic Æsir cult and folklore as well as genre paintings. The paintings that were not included in the main collection were placed in other Swedish royal palaces. A greater part of the portraits were included in the National Portrait gallery located at the Castle of Gripsholm. This gallery was founded in the early 1820s by Karl’s grandfather Karl XIV Johan.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
, Uppsatser inom musei- och kulturarvsvetenskap
Keyword [en]
Karl XVth, art collecting, the National Museum of Fine Arts, 19th century politics.
Keyword [sv]
Karl XV, konstsamlande, Nationalmuseum, 1800-tals politik.
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-126341Local ID: 3mOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-126341DiVA: diva2:323229
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2010-09-15 Created: 2010-06-09 Last updated: 2010-09-15Bibliographically approved

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