Bukowskis presents Alva and Gunnar Myrdal’s collection, from a home filled with design history, at the Modern Art + Design auction on May 17 – 18. Sven Markelius’ architecture framed the objects in the collection in the renowned modernist villa in Bromma, Stockholm. The home was decorated by Alva with selected furniture from 20th-century pioneering designers such as Axel Einar Hjorth, Uno Åhrén and Björn Trägårdh, to name a few.
The collection includes a unique table by Uno Åhrén for Svenskt Tenn with a tin top by Nils Fougstedt, a chest of drawers designed by Axel Einar Hjorth, which was exhibited at the world exhibition in Barcelona in 1929 and a distinctive armchair by Björn Trägårdh.
› Portrait of Alva Myrdal photographed by Ewa Rudling
A home full of design history
Alva Myrdal (1902 – 1986), politician and diplomat, and Gunnar Myrdal (1898 – 1987) professor and politician, are considered two of the most influential people in 20th century Sweden. Together they worked to reform society and establish Swedish welfare. Among other things, they wrote the groundbreaking book ”Crisis in the population question” in 1934.
Their home – a functionalist villa in Bromma designed by the architect Sven Markelius – was full of unique design objects and furniture, by designers such as Josef Frank and Alvar Aalto. Some of these pieces came into the possession of the Myrdal family during their many trips and assignments abroad.
Uno Åhrén’s table with model number ’743’ decorated with a tabletop in tin by Nils Fougstedt, circa 1930.
The table from Svenskt Tenn is designed by Uno Åhrén and decorated by Nils Fougstedt with a tin tabletop, decorated with motifs from Eden’s garden. On the table is a pewter tea set from Svenskt Tenn which was frequently used when having coffee and tea, seated at the Uno Åhrén table.
The pewter table always had a central place in the living room. As children, we drew the neat figures on greaseproof paper. Rather worse was a 10 year-old from the generation of children below us who broke off pieces at the edge of the table to melt into tin soldiers!
Kaj Fölster, daughter of Alva and Gunnar Myrdal
Axel Einar Hjorth, chest of drawers, Nordiska Kompaniet, 1928, exhibited at the World’s Fair in Barcelona, 1929.
This piece in Macassar ebony with silver-plated fittings was manufactured for the department store Nordiska Kompaniet. In 1929 it was exhibited at the World’s Fair in Barcelona.
”I remember the black dresser from Alva’s bedroom; her grandmother’s small tin bowl filled with dried rose petals always stood on top of it. Gloves and wallets along with foreign currencies neatly arranged in envelopes were in the top drawer. In the second drawer, handbags and fine evening bags, such as the ones from Indian holiday parties. Small ”give-away gifts” were in the lowest drawer, purchased on trips abroad (for example, lace handkerchiefs, small brooches, poetry books, and solitaire cards)”, says the family.
› A Macassar ebony chest of drawers, Nordiska Kompaniet, 1928, exhibited at the World’s Fair in Barcelona in 1929. Marked with NK R 33687-C21433. 80 x 42 cm, height 80 cm. Comes with a key.
Björn Trägårdh, armchair, model number ’266’, Firma Svenskt Tenn, 1930s.
In Svenskt Tenn’s archive, the armchair has model number 266 and was designed around 1930–1932. No designer is mentioned but the model has been rewritten as designed by Björn Trägårdh. At this time, it was Trägårdh and Uno Åhrén who mainly designed the furniture produced for Svenskt Tenn.
The armchair was always a part of our living room and together with the Uno Åhrén table, it is most remembered as a place for coffee and conversation. The Myrdal daughters, Sissel and Kaj, and later their children, often turned the armchair over on its back and pretended that it was a cradle.
These objects will be sold at the Modern Art + Design auction on May 17th – 18th.
Viewing May 12th – 16th, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm.
Auction Live May 17th – 18th, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm.