Sigrid Hjertén – Swedish Painter

Sigrid Hjertén (source)

Sigrid Hjertén (source)

Born 27 October 1885, Sigrid Hjertén was a Swedish painter in the Modernism movement. She graduated from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, and studied under Henri Matisse in Paris. Beginning around 1912, Hjertén began a productive period where she participated in many exhibitions. She also married fellow artist Isaac Grünewald and had a son, Ivàn. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, once again living in France, she became more isolated and suffered from various health problems. Her husband had a successful career in Sweden and Sigrid often complained of loneliness. After deciding to return to Stockholm, she collapsed and was temporarily hospitalized after showing symptoms of schizophrenia.

From 1932 to 1934, Hjertén had a very productive period where her paintings expressed a wide range of impressions from horror to warm harmony. She had a well received solo exhibition at the Royal Swedish Academy in 1936, but also met with many negative and scornful criticisms. Around this time her husband divorced her in order to remarry and her mental illness became more pronounced. Sigrid was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia and was eventually permanently hospitalized at the Beckomberga Psychiatric Hospital in Stockholm. On 24 March 1948, she died after an unsuccessful lobotomy.

Find out what else happened on March 24 in Women’s History.

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