Now open at CFHILL: Liselotte Watkins & Sigrid Hjertén
CFHILL’s presentation of Liselotte Watkins and Sigrid Hjertén includes a combination of works by the former and a selection of paintings by the latter that have not been shown in a long time. Hjertén’s art was incredibly radical, especially in the 1910s and 20s. This is true of the composition and use of colour, and her choice to depict city landscapes in transition and the new public role of women–a phenomenon that was readily apparent in the increasingly casual fashions they wore. All of these aspects are featured in the exhibition’s paintings. Liselotte Watkins’s oeuvre also revolves around these same subjects.
“In the 90s, Watkins was an immensely influential fashion illustrator, both in Sweden and on the international scene. Since then, through her geometrically constructed paintings and her playful use of colour, Watkins has come into her own as a tremendously productive generator of peculiar worlds and imagery. The common thread here is women and the worlds they inhabit. These were also significant themes for expressionist Sigrid Hjertén – whose great influence on Watkins resulted in a TV programme produced earlier this year. The exhibition also includes a number of works by the earlier artist. None of the selected works have been shown publicly for at least 10 years, and they all date back to the 1910s and 20s, the period when the influence from Matisse was at its strongest. However, this was also a time when Hjertén focused on motifs related to female roles, both those of her own alter egos and those of the women around her.”
— Michael Storåkers,Chairman & Head of Contemporary
Liselotte Watkins, Pavone, acrylics on canvas, 2018
Exquisite composition and treatment of colour. She has a remarkable grasp of Mediterranean temperatures for somebody who grew up in Scandinavian climes. Despite the glaring colours, this interior radiates peace and harmony.
Sigrid Hjertén, Den osynlige gästen, early 1920s
Liselotte Watkins, Sole, 2018
I don’t think anybody has really written about the interest Hjertén took in fashion before. She liked to wear stylish, modern outfits. But there is also a story about a female role in transition here. Women having a voice, and the vote, were both huge news in those days, after all.
Sigrid Hjertén, Dam i vit hatt, 1917
Liselotte Watkins, Fluo, 2018
While we’re on the topic of fashion, this is an early favourite of mine. Look at how her elegant pink coat stands out against the springtime green of Stockholm and the blue shadows. And yet, there is a certain melancholy here, in the woman’s gaze, in the S-shape of her posture, and in the delicate colours.