Friday, 19 November 2010

New books: The complete works of Prince Eugen

The museum Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde in Stockholm has just brought out a 637-page-book which catalogues all Prince Eugen’s paintings and sketches – altogether 3,169 works.
Despite his royal background Prince Eugen, the youngest son of King Oscar II and Queen Sophia of Sweden and Norway, was able to make a name for himself as a landscape painter, but was also a generous collector of other artists’ works, which were displayed together with his own works in the gallery he had built adjacent to his villa at Waldemarsudde in Stockholm. All of it was left to the state at the time of the childless prince’s death in 1947 and opened as a museum the following year.
In 1939 Gustaf Lindgren published a catalogue of Prince Eugen’s art collection, but this did not include the Prince’s own works. In 1998 Hans Henrik Brummer, the then director general of the museum, took the initiative to publish a catalogue of Prince Eugen’s works, a task which has now been completed by a project group consisting of Elsebeth Welander-Berggren, the current director general; Christina G. Wistman, who was until recently in charge of the art collections at Waldemarsudde; and Anna Meister, the museum’s archivist and librarian.
The book, titled Prins Eugen – Målningar och skisser – En beståndskatalog has thus been twelve years in the working, meaning that the illustrations were scanned in black and white at a time when colour reproductions were much more expensive than today. This is an unfortunate result of the long production time, but it is somewhat compensated by some seventy colour plates at the beginning of the book.
There are two introductory essays by Christina G. Wistman and Hans Henrik Brummer, followed by the works themselves arranged partly chronologically and partly topographically.
Seeing Prince Eugen’s entire production together for the first time is interesting from many perspectives. One may see how a work developed from a simple sketch through more detailed sketches and early versions into the finished work. And it struck me for the first time how much architecture he painted, including many of the royal palaces. He is known for having painted mostly landscapes, but here one may also see the handful of portraits he did – among them his mother Queen Sophia and his niece Crown Princess Märtha.
At the end of the book there is a section devoted to the works stolen or lost since his death.
This book will be followed by a second catalogue dealing with the works of applied arts at Waldemarsudde and a third volume on Prince Eugen’s art collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but should be signed - preferably by a name, but an initial or a nick will also be accepted. Advertisements are not allowed. COMMENTS WHICH DO NOT COMPLY WITH THESE RULES WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED.