The Museum of Sketches has a permanent collection which is geographically dispersed between different rooms on two floors. The first floor consists of the Swedish, International and Mexican Halls and includes the Sculpture Hall. On the second floor, one can witness a selection of sketches and models from the other Nordic countries, and also the Temporary Exhibitions. Many of the works of art are explained and presented through both short and long texts along with photographs of the finished work of art.
THE SWEDISH HALL
The first Hall the visitor enters is the Swedish Hall. Here, a unique way of displaying art reigns, where the usual spatial quality has given way to a considerably compact existence. However, the seemingly chaotic impression one may experience has both a practical and an educational function. The Hall displays some 600 sketches and models to realized and non-realized public decorations in Sweden from the 1900´s and onwards. This comprises an aesthetic quality, leading our thoughts to the unsystematic display of art during earlier centuries. At that time the walls of art galleries were filled with paintings from floor to ceiling, creating a feeling of being in an artist´s studio – a place for creativity and the conception of a work of art. This is the original space where the shaping, changing and the rejection of artistic ideas can be experienced. This process is what forms the distinctive attributes of the Museum of Sketches.
The Swedish Hall presents the history of art in two ways. Firstly, by the creation of a work of art through a single sketch or several sketches or models, and secondly through a kind of book of illustrations over art in public spaces, which was characteristic of the last century. In this Hall, the visitor can view the many different techniques and artistic trends during the 1900´s, which is to a varying degree chronologically arranged. Among others is Sleep in Peace, the oldest work on display, being a non-realized suggestion by Sven Broberg to a national monument in 1909. Later works include Clay Ketter´s sketches to a wall-installation executed for the Norland Opera in Umeå in 2003.
On display are also thematic proposals to the Marriage Room, in Stockholm´s Town Hall from 1912 – 1914, where the suggestions of expressionists like Sigrid Hjertén and Isaac Grünewald (among others) are presented. The Swedish Hall also includes the works of the Halmstad Group and the Concrete Artists.
THE INTERNATIONAL HALL
The International Hall adjoins the Swedish Hall, where the Museum displays an exhibition of works with an international perspective. Here one encounters sketches and models mainly from France but also from several other countries. At the time of acquisition, the intention was to use these works – to a certain extent – as comparative material to the Swedish collection. The reason for this was the influence that many foreign artists had on the development of art in the Nordic countries, but also in order to illustrate this art and to allow an insight into its progress. Among the material presented in the International Hall are the sketches of Fernand Léger to Gaz de France in Paris (1955) and Henri Matisse’s sketches to the Madonna of the Roses and Via Delarosa for the Rosary Chapel in Vence in Southern France (1951).
A representation of the older material in the International Hall includes sketches by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Emile Schuffenecker from the later 1800´s and by Maurice Denis from the late 1920´s. Purists like Amedée Ozenfant and artists under the influence of cubism like Albert Gleizes and André Lhôte are also exposed in this hall.
The World Exhibition in Paris in 1937 was of great significance as a manifestation of technological innovations. This occasion allowed several artists a temporary site to experiment with modern monumental painting in the enormous exhibition halls. The Museum presents sketches to several of the decorations executed for the World Exhibition, including those of Sonia and Robert Delaunay. Sonia Delaunay´s three original paintings to the Air Pavilion were transferred to the Museum of Sketches´ International Hall in 1966. Propeller, Motor, and Instrument Panel subsequently dominate the exposé in this hall. The revival of Sacred Art (LÁrt Sacré), which began after the Second World War, can also be studied. Among later contributions, the Icelandic artist Erró may be mentioned with his façade painting Ma Campagne, in Angoulême in France (1981).
THE MEXICAN HALL
The preliminary works to Mexican public art, which are part of the Museum’s collection on display, are from the period of the Post-Mexican revolution. These consist of great and significant artists – not least, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and Juan O’Gorman, who were of great importance for mural painting. These artists placed the Pre-Columbian culture in focus, but were simultaneously influenced by European Modernism and Italian fresco painting. Here, one also finds works of Rufino Tamayo, who belongs to a later generation of Mexican mural painters. Several of the works recount the three noteworthy periods of Mexican history – the role of Pre-Columbian culture; Mexican nationalism; and the struggle for independence; but also with the inclusion of mythological depictions. Most of the works of the above-named artists are from the 1950´s and 60´s, but even older works of art are part of the collection – for example (the previously named) Orozco, with sketches to the wall painting The Franciscan Monk Helps the Indians (1923-26) in Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, Mexico City, and Rivera’s The New Deal (1933), an al fresco painting on panel which was part of the series Portrait of America for the New York Worker’s School in New York – represent the somewhat older works. The Museum hopes to have increased the collection by the year 2010, to further include contemporary artists and projects.
THE SCULPTURE HALL
The extension of the Museum built in 1989, houses the sculpture collection. The Hall is dominated by Henry Moore’s full-scale model in plaster to Hill Arches, which shares the space with sketches and models of international artists from many countries around the world. Among these are several of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s realized and non-realized works, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and Arnaldo Pomodoro´s Three Columns, which consists of a group of sculptures for the Bank of Hawaii, in Honolulu, Hawaii (1969). Other presentations include three of the competition proposals for the memorial to the M/S Estonia Shipwreck; sketches and models of more locally-anchored artists – the likes of Bertil Herlov Svensson; Lars Englund´s proposal to Skanemejerier in Malmö (1984) and Claes Oldenburg´s Saw – a so-called mock monument from the 1960´s. The more contemporary works are represented by Sigurdur Gudmundsson´s Diamonds are Everywhere for Västra Hamnen in Malmö (2001).