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Ola Billgren ”Målning”, 1969 (detail).

The revolutionary 1960s – where our contemporary art begins

This is the point at which art and the lives of artists change hugely, the focus and the power on the art scene shifts from Europe to New York, art steps out of the gallery and the artists derive their subjects and their inspiration from politics, feminism and pop culture.

The salons of the art world were previously dominated by abstract expressionism but the 1960s is the era in which our everyday items and environments are depicted and put on show. This happens hand in hand with an opportunity to view contemporary art with the opening of new galleries. In Stockholm Galleri Karlsson opens its doors, for example, a gallery that is to leave its mark on Swedish art history. It is here that Ola Billgren has his breakthrough exhibition in 1966, including the painting “Procession”. The work is bought by its current owner and it has not emerged onto the market again until now. Amazing provenance.

The market is currently showing hugely greater interest in art from the 1960s and 1970s. This means we are delighted to present some wonderful works from precisely this period. ”Målning” (Painting) by Ola Billgren, dated 1968–69, is an excellent representative of his photorealism. Gittan Jönsson’s ”Den egoistiska modern” (The egotistic mother) and Marie-Louise Ekman’s four paintings represent feminist commentary on the period, while three typical and powerful works by Lena Svedberg comment on political power/abuse of power. One of Sten Eklund’s mythical and unique glass paintings and an equally unique painting by Ulla Wiggen are also included in this spring’s Contemporary sale. These do not usually appear at auction so this is a rare opportunity to acquire a masterpiece.

“We are also seeing greater demand for art from the 1960s and 1970s, an era that was revolutionary with major changes on the art scene. We date our Contemporary period at Bukowskis from this date to the present day and the art works created then are now classics in the contemporary market. I am enthusiastic about the works that have come in from this particular period,” says Lena Nytén, Head of Contemporary Art & Photography.

It is at the end of the 1970s that photography makes its inroads into contemporary art. Photography is re-evaluated, valued by collectors and seen as an art form. The art world in general is dominated by painting and pop art. Some artists, headed by Cindy Sherman, forge a different path and start to experiment with other techniques such as photography, film, performance and text to express an idea. It is now that conceptual, staged photography makes its contemporary art breakthrough. In Sweden, however, this did not happen until the 1990s. This spring’s auction sees Bukowskis offering some iconic works from that same period.

In 1990 a legendary exhibition, ”A Museum Fill Out (American Floors)”, an installation by Fredrik Wretman, was staged at Borås Art Museum. The auction’s ”PS 1 MUSEUM, 2nd FLOOR” is one of the 20 unique cibachromes included in the exhibition. "Confront me back I and II" is a key work in Maria Friberg’s long oeuvre as an artist, her first piece with be-suited businessmen, exploring male identity, sexuality and gendered norms in society. Annika von Hausswolff’s and Lotta Antonsson’s works too both address ”the male gaze”.

“In the 1990s conceptual photography was developed mainly by women artists such as Lotta Antonsson, Annika von Hausswolff and Maria Friberg, all of whom trained, inspired and paved the way for many of the young Swedish artists of today. We are delighted to have received well-known works by both these three and the generation that followed them, including Helena Blomqvist and Lovisa Ringborg,” says Karin Aringer, Specialist Contemporary Art, Photography, Prints.


Viewing 11 – 15 May at Bukowskis, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Sale 16 May from 6 PM at Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm.

For further information, please contact:

Karin Aringer
Karin Aringer
Specialist Photography and Contemporary Art
+46 (0)702 63 70 57