On May 3rd Wright presents its first auction dedicated to woven masterpieces from the Mӓrta Måås-Fjetterström Workshop. Featuring more than 100 lots, this extraordinary sale captures the artistry and style of one of the most innovative textile companies of the 20th century. Exploring techniques, patterns and weaves in every size, this auction includes some of the most compelling designs of the last 75 years.
A Legacy of Innovation & Excellence in Textile Design
By Martin Chard, International Executive at Märta Måås-Fjetterström
Solid, simple and beautiful. In an essay from 1905, Märta Måås-Fjetterström (1873–1941) defined her ambitions for Swedish handicrafts while heading the Malmö Handicraft Association; living and working in a time of great change, with an ambivalence between the possibilities of modernity and mass production and a fear for a loss of identity and traditional knowledge, she had a vision for new designs rooted in the rich heritage of Swedish folklore but combined with contemporary and new influences. Her ideas did not find fertile ground at the Malmö Handicraft Association, an association mainly interested in reproducing old designs, and Måås-Fjetterström was subsequently let go. A great blow to Måås-Fjetterström at the time, but it would later prove to be a stroke of luck.
Women of the Workshop
Since its founding in 1919, the Mӓrta Måås-Fjetterstrӧm workshop has hosted a series of talented and innovative women designers.
(1873 – 1941)
For nearly a century the Märta Måås-Fjetterström workshop has been producing carpets, textiles and weavings of the highest quality and craftsmanship. The company was formed in 1919 by Märta Måås-Fjetterström, an innovative and influential artist who revived declining weaving techniques and introduced the exploration of texture in her carpet designs; during her lifetime, Måås-Fjetterström created more the 700 original patterns blending folk and traditional handicrafts with Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.
When Måås-Fjetterström passed away in 1941, the renowned textile artist Barbro Nilsson became the workshop’s director. Nilsson, along with Ann-Mari Forsberg, Marianne Richter and other designers, continued in Märta Måås-Fjetterström’s footsteps creating innovative and colorful hand-woven masterpieces.
(1899 – 1983)
Barbro Nilsson trained as a textile artist and was a very skilled weaver. From 1934 – 1947, Nilsson taught at Konstfack, Stockholm (University of College of Arts, Crafts and Design) and from 1947 – 1957 she was the head of the school’s textile department.
In 1942 Barbro Nilsson became the artistic director and chief designer at the Märta Måås-Fjetterström workshop where she continued in the tradition of high quality and craftsmanship. Nilsson created many flatweave, pile and tapestry-woven carpets for Märta Måås-Fjetterström. Her designs often feature simple patterns with an emphasis on color, the subtle variations in hue enlivening her works.
(1916 – 2010)
Marianne Richter began working as a textile and ceramic artist after completing her studies at Konstfack, Stockholm (University of College of Arts, Crafts and Design). Introduced to the Märta Måås-Fjetterström workshop in 1942 by Barbro Nilsson, Richter’s intensely colorful designs stand out among the studios remarkable output. Richter was responsible for the impressively scaled, wall-hanging—the largest known tapestry in the world at the time—designed for the United Nations, New York in 1950. Several of her other designs were acquired by museums such as the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.
(1916 – 1992)
Ann-Mari Forsberg (née Lindbom) was introduced to the Märta Måås-Fjetterström workshop by Barbro Nilsson after studying under her at Konsfack, Stockholm (University of College of Arts, Crafts and Design). With simple yet imaginative patterns of contrasting shapes and playfully abstract designs, Forsberg, along with Nilsson and Richter, introduced a new vitality to the studio’s production. Forsberg became the teacher of art embroidery at Konstfack in 1953 and she is most well-known for her tapestries including the Apoteket Rosendoften (The Rose-scented Pharmacy) designed in 1964 and the Bikupan (The Beehive) designed in 1959.