Enjoy the art of Matisse at Waldemarsudde, one of Stockholm’s lesser-known yet richly rewarding attractions
Chances are that if you were considering a city break in Stockholm, you might not have heard of, let alone considered, a visit to the Waldemarsudde. And yet this cultural institution, situated on the delightfully tranquil island of Djurgården a short distance from central Stockholm, ranks as one of Sweden’s most popular art museums and enjoys a distinguished reputation as a former royal residence for Prince Eugen (1865 – 1947), himself one of the leading landscape painters of his time.
Indeed not only an artist himself, Prince Eugen was a voracious collector of artworks and gained a reputation for being a central figure in all things cultural in Sweden at the turn of the 20th century. Bequeathed to the Swedish state in 1947, today Waldemarsudde not only comprises the main palace, built as a royal residence in the early 1900s, but also a gallery, added in 1913 to showcase Prince Eugen’s vast collection of art, at its time one of the largest private art portfolios in Sweden.
Consisting primarily of Swedish paintings, sculpture, drawings, graphics and medallion art, the collection focuses chiefly on contemporary art with artworks by Swedish notables including Anders Zorn, Richard Bergh and Ernst Josephson. You’ll also find artworks from other Nordic natives including those by Edvard Munch and Viggo Johansen, with non-Scandinavians also well represented by the likes of Picasso, Derain and Delauney.
And running until February 15th next year, the Waldemarsudde is the proud host of a temporary exhibition entitled ‘Inspiration Matisse!’, showcasing a number of works by Henri Matisse alongside those created by Swedish and Norwegian Modernist artists including, amongst others, Isaac Grünewald, Einar Jolin, Leander Engström, Sigrid Hjertén, Mollie Faustman and Maj Bring. This comprehensive exhibition explores the relationship between Matisse and his students and how their artistic output was influence by time spent in Paris.
Once you’ve had a chance to explore both the permanent and temporary collections of the Waldemarsudde, take time to explore both the interior of the palace, preserved largely as it was left in 1947 at the time of Prince Eugen’s death, and the beautiful grounds – some 70,000 square metres – in which Waldemarsudde is situated. Amidst the varied backdrops of the palace and grounds, you’ll find a number of distinctive sculptures, including The Thinker by Rodin and pieces by Carl Miles and Per Hasselberg, as well as copies of renowned Roman and Greek sculptures.
Closed Mondays, Waldemarsudde is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am until 5pm (8pm on Thursdays), with admission costing SEK 120 (SEK 100 for seniors; children up to 19 years of age are free).