Svenskt Tenn

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(established 1924)

This celebrated Swedish design company and store was launched in Stockholm in 1924 by designer and entrepreneur Estrid Ericson and pewter designer Nils Fougstedt and, through its long‐standing success in the export market, did much to promote Scandinavian design abroad. In 1925 the company featured successfully at the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels where Ericson was awarded a Gold Medal for her designs in pewter. This was followed up by further successes in the USA, beginning in 1927 with an exhibition of Swedish design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, that also toured to Chicago and Detroit. In the same year the New York Wanamaker department store began to sell Svenskt Tenn products. In 1930 Svenskt Tenn extended its interests to the manufacture of furniture and rugs by progressive designers such as Uno Åhren and, in the following year, the company's products were also represented at the critically acclaimed 1931 exhibition of Swedish Design at Dorland Hall, London. Josef Frank, who was appointed as artistic director to Svenskt Tenn in 1933, was also instrumental in the dissemination of a distinctive modern aesthetic as his many designs for furniture, textiles, lighting, and other domestic products were marketed by the store. These were less stark in appearance than many of the rather austere Modernist designs on show at the Stockholm Exhibition of 1930. Further recognition of the company's designs was aided by its showings as part of the Swedish contributions to the Paris Exposition des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne 1937, the New York World's Fair of 1939–40, and the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco of 1939. As well as its commitment to contemporary design, the company also looked to its roots in the Arts and Crafts Movement by putting on an exhibition devoted to William Morris in 1938. The working relationship between Ericson and Frank prospered until the latter's death in 1967. The company continued its success after the Second World War, receiving further recognition through exhibitions such as Josef Frank: 20 Years at Svenskt Tenn at the National Museum in Stockholm in 1952 and a memorial exhibition of Frank's work in the same venue in 1968. Seven years later Ericson sold the business to the Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation, though she continued to design energetically, also remaining as Svenskt Tenn's managing director until 1978. Since then Svenskt Tenn has continued to promote the best in contemporary design, showcasing the work of younger designers through exhibitions as well as marketing other lines in keeping with the Swedish Modern aesthetic.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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