Is it the abstract representation of an artist pallet? Or a giant baseball catcher’s mitt? Your mind can probably imagine a few possibilities for what this sculpture by Swedish sculptor Christian Berg was trying to depict. The artist himself called it ‘Sun Boat,’ saying that a stay in the Greek Aegean had inspired him for this work. From the right angle, with a little imagination, and if you squint your eyes, the bright curved form standing on a granite block could possibly be taken for a billowing sail.
Since 1966 the artwork has occupied this place on the Evert Taubes Terras, offering one of the finest views of the city. No matter what one sees in the sculpture, its most important feature is the oval opening in the center.
Depending on which step of the terrace people stand on, it will always frame something different. In this way, it lends the already charming view an additional dimension.
Stretching out behind the sculpture, the Riddarfjärden is spanned in the distance by the impressive arches of the Vaster Bridge. To the right is the shining golden dome of the Stashes, to the left Södermalm with the former brewery. The best time to be here is an early summer’s evening when the tourist busses negotiating the cobblestones have left and the last civil servants have left their offices in the surrounding your and administrative buildings. Then the streets between the old palaces of the Riddarholmen nobility are quiet.
Christian Berg studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm from 1915 to 1919, where he created realistic paintings with a focus on the wilderness. Berg was strongly influenced by his travels through Egypt and Greece in the 1920s, where he became acquainted with modern art and the ancient Egyptian sculptures. He also traveled to Paris, where he developed close ties to the artistic community surrounding Fernand Léger.
Berg transitioned from his earlier post-cubist painting to become a sculptor where the classical influence is apparent in his torso sculptures, which he created in various formats and materials from 1926 onwards.
Berg participated at the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition, where his largest work based on the theme Monumental Sculpture, and perhaps also his most austere in terms of shape, could be viewed. The sculptor considered to have had the greatest influence on Berg was Alexander Archipenko, though Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti also seem to have provided significant inspiration.
The place takes its name from the famous Swedish author, artist, composer, and singer Axel Evert Taube (1890–1976), who enjoyed ecstatic reception from the audience in the Grönalund leisure park. He is widely regarded as one of Sweden’s most respected musicians and the foremost troubadour of the Swedish ballad tradition in the 20th century.
Evert Toub is perhaps best known as an interpreter of the idyllic, with motifs from the Swedish archipelagoes and from the Mediterranean, from a perspective every Swedish four-week holiday tourist could recognize. But he also wrote the most hitting anti-fascist anti-war poem in the Swedish language, “Målaren och Maria Pia”, about the Italian war in Abyssinia, from the late 30s, as well as the anthem of the budding environmental movement in the 70s, “Änglamark” (originally written for the successful 1971 Hasse & Tage film The Apple War).
But even the musician lets his lute rest for a moment, pointing instead in admiration of the views across the water.
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