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Skiascope 10 – Göteborgs konstmuseum

The Canon: Perspectives on Swedish Art Historiography

How has an art collector and patron, two influential museum directors and a Düsseldorf painter influenced our perception of artistic quality? How has the position of naïvism and traditional figurative painting been valued within modernism?

Art history, as presented in encyclopaedic works and museum displays, was long regarded as a self-evident selection of the pre-eminent and most outstanding works of art. In recent decades, not only the question of which artists and artworks should be included, but the very concept of the art historical narrative have been challenged. The Canon: Perspectives on Swedish Art Historiography investigates the canonization process in Swedish art history with a focus on the collections and history of the Gothenburg Museum of Art and Norrköpings Konstmuseum. The study relies on various illuminating examples to discuss the Swedish art historical canon and its parameters. These include an art collector and a donor, two influential museum directors, a Düsseldorf painter and the position of naïvism and traditional, figurative painting within modernism. These separated studies provide a range of perspectives on the Swedish canon and the role of museums in the creation and maintenance of the same.

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