Why Hannah Ryggen, largely written out of art history following her death in 1970, has undergone such a remarkable revival over the past decade might be put down to several factors: her powerful graphic sensibility, the choice of tapestry as her medium and her fearless engagement with the dark times in which she lived, which have powerful resonances with our own. Hannah Ryggen (21 March 1894, Malmö – 2 February 1970) was a Swedish-born Norwegian textile artist. A spirited early self-portrait on display at Oxford shows Ms. Ryggen’s considerable skill as a painter. With its strong, roiling colors, and expressionistic style, the work suggests the influence of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Since repaired, this scarred work, with its explicit message of global solidarity, has become an emblem of collective memory, lending its name to a 2014 exhibition at the Henie Onstad Arts Center, south of Oslo, in which artists responded to the events of that day in 2011. Oslo: Norsk nettleksikon. “Blood in the Grass” (1966), the final work in the exhibition, shows President Lyndon Johnson as a scarlet cowboy, a dog at his feet, beside a lawn of tufted green wool, through which seeps a violent red. It was shown at the Paris World’s Fair in 1937, next to Picasso’s Guernica (1937). Marit Paasche (Editor), Esther Schlicht (Editor). ”She was horrified by reports of the war, and was angry that coverage of the brutal loss of life in another country had been overshadowed by the media focus on the behavior of President Johnson as an individual,” the curator said. Raising sheep for wool, and making her own dyes from local moss, lichen, bark and plants (and the contents of a chamber pot), tapestry freed her from dependence on commercial materials. Synnøve Anker Aurdal (1908-2001) emerged on the Norwegian art scene in the late 1950s. To Ms. Ridgway, the curator, the political backdrop against which Ryggen wove her tapestries suggests painful parallels with the present.  In 1936 she wove one tapestry called 'Hitlerteppet' (The Hitler Carpet), with two decapitated figures kneeling before a hovering cross, and one called 'Drømmedød' (Death of Dreams) depicting prisoners and murderous Nazis in a concentration camp. 176–77. It was shown at the Paris World’s Fair in 1937, next to Picasso’s Guernica (1937). Eight people died in the blast, which damaged the offices of the prime minister, as well as the finance and oil ministries. While Ryggen was included in several major international exhibitions in the 1950s and '60s, she remains largely unknown outside of Scandinavia. She was likewise versed in the art of her own time, making repeat visits to the huge 1914 Baltic Exhibition in Malmo, Sweden, at which paintings by Kandinsky and the German expressionist group Die Brücke were shown. The Great Depression had hit Norway, bringing high unemployment and terrible deprivation. A tapestry was a mobile messenger: it could be nimbly rolled up, transported and displayed without sustaining damage as a painting might. The Ryggen family is seen floating in a boat of roses on the panel to the right: between the two sides stands Winston Churchill in a barricaded tower. Ms. Ryggen’s tapestry was torn and showered with splinters of glass and other flying debris. Above a Pietà-like scene of Mr. Gleditsch’s death, Hitler flies through Norwegian skies farting oak leaves as a symbol of German strength. Ms. Ryggen created her tapestries directly on the loom without preparatory sketches. A separate tapestry shows another figure in the German resistance to Nazism, Liselotte Herrmann, who was also executed in 1938. Hannah Ryggen Wove Politics Into Her Gorgeous Tapestries. Her 'Henders bruk' from 1949 was the first textile artwork acquired by the National Gallery of Norway. The central suite of works in the Oxford exhibition address Nazi atrocities first in Germany, then Norway, and their eventual impact on Ms. Ryggen’s family. "Hannah Ryggen". Twenty eight of her works were shown in a solo show at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1962, and she was the first female Norwegian artist to be represented at the Venice Biennale, in 1964. "Hannah Ryggen". , Hannah Ryggen (right) and Hans Ryggen about 1935-1940, Kuzma, Marta, "Hannah Ryggen" (No.067 in 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts / 100 Notizen - 100 Gedanken), dOCUMENTA(13), Hatje Cantz, Germany, 2012, "Art with a Purpose: Notes on Hannah Ryggen's Tapestries", "Documenta 13: Hannah Ryggen (Contemporary Art Daily)", "The Anti-Fascist Tapestries of Hannah Ryggen", "Hannah Ryggen at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt", The woman who kept Hitler and Churchill in stitches: Hannah Ryggen Woven Histories review, In Pictures: Hannah Ryggen’s Defiantly Anti-Fascist Tapestries, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hannah_Ryggen&oldid=990930969, CS1 Norwegian Bokmål-language sources (nb), SKBL template using Wikidata property P4963, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with KULTURNAV identifiers, Wikipedia articles with RKDartists identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Articles needing translation from Norwegian Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The extraordinary “6 October 1942” shows the shooting of Henry Gleditsch, the director of Trondheim’s Trondelag Theater. Tapestry woven in wool and linen, 190 x 320 cm. On a trip to Dresden, Germany, as a young woman, she immersed herself in the work of Vermeer, Goya and El Greco.  She paid close attention to the rise of fascism in Europe, and made work in direct response to it. Retrieved 18 October 2014. , She was a pacifist who subscribed to Scandinavian feminist and leftist journals, and was active in the Norwegian Communist Party and international workers’ movements.
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