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Elina Hallström

Thesis: Domesticated Paintings: The Role of Fine Art in Swedish Homes, 1890-1917

Supervisors: Prof Michael Hatt and Dr Claire Jones (University of Birmingham)


I am a PhD student in History of Art at the University of Warwick, funded by the Midlands4Cities Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) doctoral training partnership. I gained my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History of Art at the University of Glasgow. My dissertations concerned the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi’s monumental painting Artemis (1893-94) and the development of Modernism in Sweden from 1885 to 1930 (with particular reference to the lasting influence of the National Romantic painter Richard Bergh), respectively.

Research interests:

My research interests are mainly in Swedish and Scandinavian art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as related histories of architecture and design.

Other interests include:

  • Domestic interiors and the concept of 'home'
  • Cultural history
  • The social function of art
  • Nationalism and the creation of national identities through art
  • Aesthetic theory
  • Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau/Jugendstil, Symbolism (movement)
  • The intersection of fine and applied art

Current research:

My thesis looks at the conceptualisation and the practical arrangement of the Swedish home during the period 1890-1917 with the aim of grasping how the socialisation and democratisation of art was perceived to have factored into the wider goal of social change in turn-of-the-century Sweden. Of particular interest is the role that the home played in the contemporary socio-cultural reform movement, including how the inclusion of various types of art in the home functioned as a strategy by which a more beautiful and moral society could be achieved.

Selected conference papers:

December 2022. 'Poor Design? "Poverty" as the Bedrock of Swedish Modern Design', Place and Folk Cultures: Mediation and Display session at the Design History Society's "Folk Cultures" in Everyday Objects seminar series. Online event.

October 2022. 'A Habitable Whole: Ellen Key's Strand and the Principles of Artistic Living', Home is Where the Art is. Critical Perspectives on Artistic Residences in the Nordic Countries 1850–1950 session at the 13th triennial NORDIK Conference of Art History in the Nordic Countries. Online event.

April 2022. 'Where There's Life: The Paintings at Ellen Key's Strand from a Vitalist Perspective', Critical Explorations of Nordic Art and Vitalism panel at the Association for Art History (AAH) Annual Conference. Online event.

May 2021. 'Nice and Clean: Hygienic Aesthetics in the Swedish Home around 1900', Joint Coventry-Warwick Post-Graduate Research Symposium, Coventry University and University of Warwick. Online event.