The exhibitions Christer Strömholm and Giorgio Vasari's Drawings open at Nationalmuseum
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The exhibitions Christer Strömholm and Giorgio Vasari's Drawings open at Nationalmuseum
Christer Strömholm, Petit Fleur. © Christer Strömholm/Strömholm Estate

STOCKHOLM.- This autumn brings two separate exhibitions with one entrance and ticket at Nationalmuseum. One part of the gallery shows Christer Strömholm’s photographs taken in Paris and the other part drawings from the legendary collection owned by the artist Giorgio Vasari. The exhibitions open on 6 October.

Christer Strömholm – Portraits in Paris

Long considered one of the most significant Swedish photographers, Christer Strömholm is among the few to have achieved widespread international recognition. The exhibition includes around 200 photographs taken in Paris in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, mostly portraits of artists and leading cultural figures but also some unfamiliar images of contemporary Paris. The portraits were taken during the years that Strömholm lived and worked in Paris, where he collaborated with Pontus Hultén and Lasse Söderberg to document many artists and authors. The exhibition includes portraits of Paul Andersson, André Breton, Olle Bonniér, Torun Bülow-Hübe, Niki de Saint Phalle, Giacometti, Yves Klein, Bengt Lindström, François Mauriac and Tinguely, among others.

Strömholm began his artistic career not as a photographer, but as a student of fine art in Dresden and Paris. Aiming to be a painter, he also studied under Isac Grünewald and Otte Sköld in Stockholm. Continuing his studies after the Second World War at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Strömholm began experimenting with large format cameras and switched to photography as his main medium. In the late 1940s he started creating images inspired by abstract painting, with his interest focused solely on form. Soon, however, he was increasingly turning his attention to the motif, producing images verging on subjective documentary photography. Strömholm’s most notable works include images documenting the lives of Parisian transsexuals, taken between 1958 and 1968 and published in the book Les amies de Place Blanche. Strömholm also achieved prominence as an educator after setting up the Fotoskolan photography school in Stockholm in 1962, where his own experience, learning and ideas came to influence a long list of photographers.

Exhibition curator is Joakim Strömholm in collaboration with Anna Nilsdotter.

Giorgio Vasari’s Drawings – A Mythical Collection

The exhibition focuses on the Italian artist Giorgio Vasari’s legendary collection of drawings by Italian artists spanning the period from the 14th to the late 16th century. After Vasari’s death in 1574 the collection’s contents were dispersed and can be found today in public and private collections around the world. Several drawings in the collections of the Louvre and Nationalmuseum have long been considered as part of Vasari’s collection. But is it certain that all drawings are from Vasari? What is myth and what is fact? The exhibition is based on the latest research and the many new questions it has given rise to among art historians and collectors. Visitors can follow along on a scientific journey of discovery that has led experts to reassess two significant collections of drawings.

The exhibition, coproduced with the Louvre in Paris, features some 100 works by renaissance artists such as Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli, Andrea Verrocchio, Andrea Mantegna, Filippino Lippi, Pietro Perugino, Raphael, Parmigianino, Sofonisba Anguissola and Primaticcio. Works from Nationalmuseum’s and the Louvre’s world-class drawing collections will be joined by a large number of works on loan from the British Museum, Albertina Museum, Chatsworth, Christ Church Picture Gallery, Museo di Capodimonte and Victoria and Albert Museum.

One of the most prominent cultural figures in 16th-century Italy, Vasari made his name as an artist and architect, and more especially as the author of the book Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects (1550), the foundation stone of modern art history. Equally famous is his large collection of drawings – the first collection structured on historical principles. In the book, Vasari describes how he began his collecting career at a young age and that the idea of compiling an album of drawings that could serve as a visual complement to the biographies in the book came about when he started work on the second edition in 1568. What distinguishes this second edition is Vasari’s detailed descriptions of the drawings in his collection, which were the work of the artists profiled in the biographical texts. The drawings provided study material for the book and were kept in an album, which the author referred to as il nostro Libro de’ disegni (‘our book of drawings’).

Exhibition curators are Carina Fryklund from Nationalmuseum and Louis Frank from the Louvre. A version of the exhibition was on show at the Louvre in Paris during spring and summer.

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