The Museum of Sketches
- Archives of Public Art

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A SHORT HISTORY OF Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art

Skissernas Museum was founded in 1934 by Ragnar Josephson (1891-1966), during his time as Professor of Art History at the University of Lund (Sweden). The intention was to establish an archive of the creative process, or the path of the artist from the first idea to the finished work. This was what “the birth of a work of art” meant to Josephson. The aim was to collect sketches, models and photographs to Public Art – as the study material relating to it was especially suited, by the frequent demand on abundant preliminary sketches. The keen recommendation to start the archives came from the artist Georg Pauli, who in a speech given in Lund in 1933 said: “ An inventory ought to be made immediately of our monumental paintings, before it is too late”.

The first material in the archives, consisted of post-cards purchased of what was called decorative art – the art that is created to co-exist with architecture within the public space. The initiative to start the collection was soon to be deeply appreciated by the artists of the nation. They were pleased that their sketches – which were not considered as having the same value as their finished works – now served another purpose, and they gifted their works or sold them for a nominal amount. The first artist to donate material to the Swedish collection of the archives was Prince Eugene. This was followed by further gifts, as Eugen felt the idea of the archives was excellent and in his correspondence with Josephson, it is apparent that he observed with pleasure the expansion of the archives.

It was thanks to the gifts and the generosity shown by the artists, that Josephson´s Archives of Decorative Art at the Department of Art History expanded, and in 1941, the University of Lund made available a former Teacher’s Academy, as the new premises. Hereby, the archives became an actual museum, since it was now open to the public and one could display the collected works. Since 1941, the premises of the Museum and the collections have expanded further and consist of some 30,000 items today, from more or less the whole world. The Museum is still unique in its mission, and every year it receives donations or makes new acquisitions to add to the collections – in accordance with the original intention to study the creative process from sketch to finished work, within public art.