Stockholm today

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Royal Dramatic Theatre, built 1908. Architect: Fredrick Lilljekvist

IMG_0452A roundabout walk to Stureplein revealed how much is left of art nouveau Stockholm and how much has been replaced by some pretty dire stuff. Rounded corners bordering on turrets seem to be popular for the ends of blocks, particularly if they are less than 90 degrees .

I must be a little more forgiving of the flyovers: Kungsgatan was formed by dynamiting through one of the rocky outcrops that make Stockholm quite hilly, so the road that used to go over the outcrop required a bridge to link up the two severed ends. Putting skyscrapers – the Kungstornen – at either end gives it a certain Chicago grandeur. They were built between 1919 and 1925, so predate Antwerp’s Boerentoren.

Then a visit to the Hallwylska Palatset, which – like the Musée Nissim de Camondo – is a collection of oppressive proportions built up by a wealthy Stockholm family at the end of the nineteenth century. When I say that the plain pearwood casing of the grand piano wasn’t grand enough so was replaced with marquetry . . . well, you get the idea. Next came a visit to the Museum of Modern Art and the Swedish Museum of Architecture. The former seemed a twin to Hamburg’s Kunsthalle: there was another Kandinsky, another Leger, another Kirchner (whom I don’t like), another set of Munchs. They also had several reproductions (although what does that mean anyway in the context?) of Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades, plus a copy of The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors (minus the crack). I also enjoyed the exhibition of Josef Frank’s work; he sought refuge in Sweden in the 1930s from Vienna and continued his design work in Stockholm.

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