In the United States, this is April Fools’ Day. Thus this is a post about a few mistakes in recognizing or mis-attributing Swedish rugs. Because there has not been a great deal of interest in these in the United States for very long, there is not a lot of information available on these weavers, so mistakes are not so surprising. But here are a few we can correct.
In February 2015, an auction house in New Jersey, which sells largely Arts and Crafts antiques, listed four rugs by Judith Johannson, whose rugs have a characteristic JJ woven in the lower left hand corner. But they showed them laying upside down and cataloged these as by a weaver with the initials “CC.” On the other hand, the rugs sold for at or slightly over their estimates. Did their buyers know what they were getting or not?
There is a Swedish flat-weave rug, a rolakan, that shows up with some frequency. Auction houses and dealers both in Sweden and in the United States have consistently mis-identified its designer. Every time I have seen it, this rug is described as being designed by Sophia Widen. Sophia Widen was a designer of exquisite liturgical textiles and interesting mid-century textiles, such as a charming birds-eve view print of Stockholm, and she seems to have designed very few rugs. This rug is not by Widen. It was instead designed by Solveig Westerberg in about 1962-3 . The rug was admired, and photographed for a British book called Modern Interiors, in 1963. The photo caption cited the name of the rug, “La Petite,” with Solveig Westerberg as designer, and Nils Nessim as manufacturer.
These are not a mistakes that makes a great deal of difference to those who might want to buy or have any of these rugs. But part of my interest in this entire project is in trying to give credit to many of the women who designed and wove rugs at mid-century. We have names for some of these women, but there are many who will continue to be known only by their initials. Hopefully, when we do know the people who match the initials, we can attribute their rugs to them correctly.
Please reference as follows:
Whidden, Anne, “Oops,” theswedishrugblog (April 1, 2016);
http:// theswedishrugblog.wordpress.com; accessed (month/day/year)