A Century of Swedish Gustavian Style: Art History, Cultural Heritage and Neoclassical Revivals from the 1890s to the 1990s

  • Datum: 19 maj, kl. 10.00
  • Plats: Ihresalen, Thunbergsv. 3H, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Mårdh, Hedvig
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Konstvetenskapliga institutionen
  • Kontaktperson: Mårdh, Hedvig
  • Disputation


This is a study of the intersection between art historical theory and practice, and cultural heritage, where the revivals and mediations of the neoclassical Gustavian style have been used as a platform for further exploration. In relation to this, the use and changing meanings of the concepts authenticity and style have been examined. The research has a historiographical and multidisciplinary character, drawing on the fields of art history, critical heritage studies and design history. The study shows how the Gustavian style has been routinely used when Swedish culture has been staged, nationally and internationally, but also when shaping ideas of the ideal home and good taste. The focus is placed on three periods – the 1890s, the 1930s-40s and the 1990s – during which the Gustavian style was defined, revived and mediated in different modes of representation such as textbooks, exhibitions, period furniture and historically informed performances. In the study we meet the actors, human and non-human, that have contributed to the resilient position of the Gustavian style in the public consciousness and in a commercial context. The Gustavian style, perhaps like no other, has been systematically embraced by the official heritage institutions in Sweden, including the academic discipline of art history, which has been an important influence on the way the past has been presented, valued, categorised, preserved and re-used. The author argues that the style has been able to maintain its relevance due to its ability to embody many different prevailing aspects across the 20th century, for example tradition and modernity, nationalism and internationalism, but also the past, present and visions of retro-utopia.