Exhibit Opening: December 2011
Exhibit Closing: Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012


This holiday season the Swedish American Museum features a selection of 18th and 19th century Swedish folk paintings from our Permanent Collection.  These paintings are part of the Florence Dibell Bartlett Collection, a generous gift from Art Institute of Chicago in 2000.  The full collection includes 29 of these Bonader paintings, and five pieces of painted furniture, many of which are on permanent display around the Museum.  We have selected 9 of the remaining paintings for our special holiday exhibit.  Paintings such as these were created by farmers and laborers in Sweden in the 18th and 19th centuries as decoration for festivals, feast days, celebrations and holidays.  We have revived this tradition to deck our gallery for the winter holidays!
A current exhibit of 19th century “Bonader,” hand-painted wall hangings, features selected artifacts from the archives of the Swedish American Museum. The folk art from southern Sweden depicts motifs from Scandinavian mythology and The Bible.
The Bonader on display in the Museum’s first-floor gallery have been selected from the 29 paintings donated in 2000 by The Art Institute of Chicago from the 1930 collection of Florence Dibell Bartlett. Other articles in the collection, including pieces of painted furniture, may be seen elsewhere in the Immigration Museum.
The nine displayed pieces include two versions of “The Marriage at Canaan in Galilee,” plus “The Lord Visits Abraham and Sarah,” and “A Bestiary,” picturing a lion, bear, dromedary and elephant, with the legend, “every living thing has its own special meaning.” Negative spaces in the artwork are flowered and ornamented.

Created by 'members of the laity'
Farmers and laborers created these extraordinary works on linen or paper, using vegetable and mineral pigments to achieve an array of colors. The paintings were sized for specific wall spaces in 18th and 19th century homes and hung unframed. About 60 of the artists have been identified, but more than a hundred practiced the unique craft.
Moved by what she viewed as a decline of folk art, world traveler Florence Bartlett of Chicago collected pieces she found in 37 countries. She was the founder in 1953 of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
For more information, contact Swedish American Museum Curator Veronica Robinson at 773-728-8111 or vrobinson@samac.org.
AND on the Museum’s second floor…
..are hand-painted depictions of iconic Swedish Moraklockor (Mora Clocks) created by Judy Seymour and Sallee Dawson. The clocks that inspired these paintings were produced from 1750 until the early 1800s to supplement the incomes of families in Mora, Dalarna.
Two sizes of the wall hangings by Seymour and Dawson are available for purchase in the Museum store.

For more info on the museum, see Swedish American Museum