Segments in this Video

Vasa Museum (03:49)


In 1628, the Vasa warship sank in Stockholm Harbor and was recovered in 1961. It represents Sweden's 17th century ambition to build an empire rivaling those of Spain and France. Most 20th century artists and architects embraced modernism.

Progressive Monarchy (03:14)

By the early 20th century, Sweden's Industrial Revolution was catching up to Europe and America. Prince Eugen's palace reflects his bohemian character. He had a liberal, democratic education and became an art collector and patron of the arts.

Prince Eugen's Works (02:34)

Prince Eugen collected works by a range of Scandinavian artists, including Andrew Zorn, who celebrated the nude human form in idyllic settings. Graham-Dixon argues that the prince was a serious artist and interprets "The Cloud" from 1896 as predicting Sweden's uncertain future.

Swedish Theater Innovations (02:57)

Scandinavian anxiety about the approaching 20th century is seen in Richard Bergh's "The Silence" and "Death and the Maiden." He painted portraits of literary figures, including August Strindberg. Learn about Strindberg's invention of the intimate playhouse that unified audience and performance.

August Strindberg (04:11)

The Swedish modernist's theater works broke the rules of time and place and merged realism with myth. Graham-Dixon reads a passage from "Ghost Sonata" about silence. His ocean landscape paintings reveal his turbulent life and anxiety about the Industrial Age.

Carl Herveg (03:02)

From the 1920s, Sweden led the world in architecture and design. Herveg's cabinet and two chairs won a gold medal at the 1925 Paris Exhibition. Graham-Dixon proposes the cabinet reflects his interest in Freud. The younger generation found the works decadent.

Acceptera (05:22)

In Sweden's Functionalism manifesto, Uno Ahren urged consumers to purchase only absolutely necessary objects. Graham-Dixon meets design student John Vaughn in an apartment showcasing pieces from the 1932 Stockholm Exhibition. Designers created affordable pieces for the common man.

Swedish Social Housing Revolution (02:17)

The government built collective housing in Stockholm, believing class differences would disappear. Ahren was appointed Gothenburg city planner; view his apartment buildings.

Functionalism in Mass Production (02:57)

Ahren's Ford factory demonstrates the functionalist aesthetic. IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad designed his flagship store after the Guggenheim Museum in New York; Graham-Dixon discusses how it symbolizes Scandinavian modernism.

IKEA Design Inspiration (03:15)

Acceptera authors drew on rural Swedish design traditions. Carl Larsson's watercolors feature domestic scenes with bright, primary colors. Intended to evoke nostalgia, they inspired interior decoration at a national level.

Landskrona Sports Hall (02:53)

Sweden's healthy body cult began when Social Democrats promoted exercise and nutrition. Arne Jacobsen's 1965 building demonstrates functionalist ideas and symbolizes the nation's transformation to a well-functioning society.

Martin Beck Novels (04:43)

Writers Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö created a detective character to reveal problems in Swedish society— paving the way for Nordic Noir. Graham-Dixon interviews the husband and wife team behind Lars Kepler about corruption and power structures.

Contemporary Swedish Visual Arts (03:35)

Many see Swedish society as unequal today; immigrants are alienated. Issues are reflected in the work of graffiti artist NUG, performance artist Anna Odell, and conceptual artist Makode Linde.

Democratic by Design (04:28)

Current Swedish artists express alienation and disillusionment with social democracy. However, Graham-Dixon finds Stockholm in better shape than London. Architect Gert Wingardh's public swimming pool symbolizes the dream of equality.

Credits: Democratic by Design: Episode 3—Art of Scandinavia (00:35)

Credits: Democratic by Design: Episode 3—Art of Scandinavia

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Democratic by Design: Episode 3—Art of Scandinavia

Part of the Series : Art of Scandinavia
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
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3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



In the final installment of Andrew Graham-Dixon's journey through Scandinavian art, we arrive in Sweden— home of IKEA and a tradition of brilliant furniture design stretching back to the early years of the 20th century. Sweden has made its modern democratic mission one of comfort and civilized living for the masses, but many would argue that the dream of equality has fallen short. Graham-Dixon examines early 20th century artistic innovations, including Prince Eugen’s salons and August Strindberg’s works expressing anxiety about modernization. The acceptera manifesto outlined the principles of Functionalism, incorporated into Swedish social housing, and Carl Larsson’s water colors nostalgic for rural Scandinavian traditions inspired IKEA’s mass produced household items. The Nordic Noir movement revealed cracks in social democracy— echoed by current graffiti, performance, and conceptual artists. A BBC Production.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL115618

ISBN: 978-1-68272-967-0

Copyright date: ©2016

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