Stockholm is welcoming its tourists and citizens with many different galleries and museums, with surprising and beautiful exhibitions, changing seasonally. A trip to the capital of Sweden can never be boring in the cultural sphere, and today we would like to introduce you to one of our jewels. Located in the center of the city at Grev Turegatan 3 on Östermalm, Galleri Scandinavia is a truly magnificent place for all art-lovers with different tastes.
Its story began back in 1972 when it was founded by artists Inga-Lisa and Arnold Lindblom in Göteborg. The original name was Galleri Korvetten which later was changed to Galleri Scandinavia. Throughout the years the gallery has grown and in the 1980s it started working with world-famous names in the world of art.
In 1987 one of their sons Håkan decided to open a new branch in Stockholm, working with such names as Kandinsky, Miró, Bengt Lindström. James Coignard, Walasse Ting, Ardy Strüwer and others, before moving back to Gothenburg in the mid-’90s. About four years ago, Michael made the same journey and opened in Stockholm again. Since then ‘Galleri Scandinavia’ has expanded and moved several times until 2018 when it got a new home at Grev Turegatan 3 – one of the most prestigious addresses the gallery could have had in Stockholm.
View Stockholm had an honor speaking with one of the gallery founder’s grandsons, Michael Lindblom, who kindly told us their story and what they are working with.
It is fantastic that the gallery has such a long story, being founded by Inga-Lisa and Arnold Lindblom in 1972 and became so developed and popular nowadays. Could you please tell a little bit more about starting the first gallery in Gothenburg? Maybe you could share some ‘backstage’ stories with us?
Thank you! We are incredibly proud of our founders’ work and dedication. As the third generation Lindblom, I feel the responsibility to live up to the standards they inforced and continue growing the gallery for the next 50 years and further.
Arnold and Inga-Lisa’s story was a bit of a fairytale at first. They met when they were around fourteen, and after writing and receiving permission from the King, they got married early at 16. At the time that was the only way to get married as minors.
In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Arnold was establishing himself as an artist in Gothenburg as well as on Gotland, where he was born in 1930. Arnold, who passed away last year was a gentle and calm artistic soul, all what he really wanted to do was paint, the monetary value of them neither mattered nor interested him.
Inga-Lisa, on the other side, was an influential and driven character. After a few successful exhibitions with Arnold’s art, she decided she wanted to devote her professional life to Arnold, just as she did with everything else in life.
They together opened Gallery Korvetten and involved their sons Håkan and Mats in the gallery, which quickly grew and soon represented many artists.
In 1983 they moved to the location in Gothenburg where we still operate and changed the name to Galleri Scandinavia.
Did Inga-Lisa and Arnold Lindblom continue to create artworks, or did they focus mainly on the gallery?
Arnold continued creating artworks until Inga-Lisa’s passing about eight years ago. After that I don’t think he ever lifted a brush, his muse was gone. Arnold passed late last year, and we will honor them both with a memorial exhibition soon. Inga-Lisa’s focus was always the family and the gallery, which, in many ways, was intertwined.
Today, the galleries are run by their children. How does it feel to continue this family business?
The short answer is humbling. My father has been working in the gallery since he was 18, and I did the same, about 14 years ago. Art, our artists, and the gallery have always been a huge part of our family, and hopefully, I can pass it onto my future children.
Are you also an artist?
No, I painted as a child, but I realized that my path in the art world is different than that of an artist. I want to be on the other side of the coin and help artists develop their name and finding homes for their artworks. To be somewhat objective and to keep the focus on the artists, it is probably better that I don’t try to ‘compete.’
Both galleries in Stockholm and Gothenburg have a tight schedule of planned exhibitions with great artists from all over the world. Do you focus on some particular type/style of art, or are you open for different artistic approaches?
We have always tried to keep a wide variety in terms of styles and types of art because you can never tell a customer what they find interesting, and we aim to have something for everybody. Our focus is to always work with a high level of craftsmanship, and with art and artists, we feel passionate about. Setting aside your personal taste is sometimes tricky, but essential. We are open to most things, but our primary focus is to find homes for the artworks, which leaves less time for performance art and such.
Could you please tell us more about the upcoming exhibitions and what artists are you working with?
The next planned exhibition is in our Stockholm gallery at Grev Turegatan 3, with an amazing and very hyped Dutch artist, Diederik Van Apple, which starts on the 16th of May.
The art of Van Apple is a combination of digital techniques such as photography and famous characteristics. The basis of the art is aluminum or gold foil, and then he adds holograms, colors, glitters, diamonds, and other handcrafted items. All artworks are finished by hand with several layers of epoxy. By adding these layers, he can create innovative and unique mix-media art with a fantastic 3D effect. Amazing works!
In our Gothenburg venue, we just concluded an exhibition with Hellstrom Street Art, which was a tremendous success. We had well over a thousand visitors on the opening weekend, a lot of press and many sold artworks.
How do you pick artists with whom you would like to work?
We get a lot of requests from artists, unfortunately too many for us to work with all of them. It’s often a combination of us seeing the artworks in person, liking the message, and most importantly, feel that contribute to something that we think is missing from our wall. The personal chemistry also plays a significant role, – it should be fun to work together.
You have a vast range of represented artists in the gallery. Do they change or their works are displayed in the gallery all the time?
We often work long-term with our artists. So usually, when we don’t have an ongoing exhibition, we have selected pieces to show by all the artists we represent.
Thank you very much, Michael, for a fascinating description of the gallery’s story and work.