Exhibition | Pehr Hilleström: The 18th Century Observed

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on September 5, 2014


Pehr Hilleström, Three Women Telling Fortune in Coffee, 1780s, 80 x 110cm
(Stockholms universitets konstsamling, J. A. Berg Collection #158)

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From The Sinebrychoff Art Museum:

Pehr Hilleström: The 18th Century Observed / Välähdyksiä 1700-luvun elämästä
The Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Helsinki, 4 September 2014 — 11 January 2015

Curated by Mikael Ahlund

The life of the bourgeoisie in Stockholm in the Age of Enlightenment will be on display in the Sinebrychoff Art Museum. The paintings of the Swedish artist Pehr Hilleström (1732−1816) give us a unique view directly of ordinary life in the 18th century, of how the bourgeoisie lived in Stockholm. Hilleström portrayed the whole strata of life in the Gustavian period: the life and ceremonies of the court, idle young ladies in elegant drawing rooms, servant girls carrying on with their domestic tasks, theatre, peasant culture, foundries and mines. Fifty paintings representing his most important topics will be on display. Pehr Hilleström’s work has never been exhibited this widely in Finland. The exhibition has been created in cooperation with the Nationalmuseum of Stockholm.

Exhibition publication: Mikael Ahlund, Pehr Hilleström – Välähdyksiä 1700-luvun elämästä | 1700-talet i blickpunkten (editors Kirsi Eskelinen, Reetta Kuojärvi-Närhi).

A selection of high-resolution images are available here»


Pehr Hilleström, The Inner Gallery of the Royal Museum at the
Royal Palace, Stockholm, 1796 (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm)

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Press release (1 September 2014) from Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum:

Nationalmuseum has made a major loan of works to the Pehr Hilleström exhibition at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum in Helsinki. The loan comprises some twenty works by this artist best known for his documentary paintings of 18th-century Stockholm.

Pehr Hilleström, Self-Portrait, 1771 (Stockholm: Nationalmuseum; photo by Erik Cornelius)

Pehr Hilleström, Self-Portrait, 1771 (Stockholm: Nationalmuseum; photo by Erik Cornelius)

This is the first time that a Finnish gallery has mounted a comprehensive exhibition of works by the Swedish artist Pehr Hilleström (1732–1816). Nationalmuseum in Stockholm has contributed some twenty paintings by Hillestrom, one of Sweden’s most highly regarded artists of the 18th century. The works on loan include Testing Eggs, Kitchen Scene, Card Game at the Home of Elis Schröderheim, Public Banquet at Stockholm Castle New Year’s Eve 1779, plus two self-portraits and an enigmatic portrait of Carl Michael Bellman. In all, fifty of Hilleström’s best-known paintings are on display. The exhibition was planned by Nationalmuseum’s Mikael Ahlund, who also wrote the commentary for the accompanying book.

Pehr Hilleström portrayed the entire spectrum of life in the Gustavian era, from idle young ladies in elegant drawing rooms to industrious working-class wives going about their domestic chores. He is famous for his almost documentary depictions of city fires and official ceremonies in 18th-century Stockholm. His wide range of motifs includes industry, landscapes and scenes from the theatre. In his later years, he
also turned to historical and religious motifs.

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