June 24, 2016

Greta Garbo Exhibition at Fotografiska

Over the decades, Sweden has exported a lot of great talent to Hollywood... Ingrid Bergman, Ingmar Bergman, Lena Olin, Lasse Hallström, Stellan & Alexander Skarsgård, Alicia Vikander among others. But the original (and arguably most famous) Swedish cinematic export will always be Greta Garbo! She was actually born and raised not too far from the Rival Hotel on Blekingegatan. Besides Garbo's striking beauty and successful film career (both in silent films and then "talkies"), she is also famous for the fact that she retired in 1941, at the height of her career, removing herself from the public spotlight ("I want to be alone!").
A popular opening party...
I have been asked by visitors several times over the years why Stockholm doesn't have a Garbo museum. A valid question. Well, this summer we will at least have a Garbo exhibit here in Stockholm and last week I was invited to the premiere of the exhibition "The Image of Garbo" (at Fotografiska - the Swedish Museum of Photography).
If you have at all been reading this blog regularly then you know that I love the art of photography and am a fan of the museum which has had some great exhibitions throughout the years (Annie Leibovitz, David LaChapelle, Herb Ritts, Henri Cartier-Bresson, etc.). The Garbo exhibit is located on the ground floor in a space usually used for conferences and events and not exhibitions. This means that "The Image of Garbo" is an expansion of what is already being shown at the museum, meaning more exhibits and photographs to see at Fotografiska this summer.
I really enjoyed "The Image of Garbo", which probably contains the world's largest collection of unique images and memorabilia featuring Greta Garbo. Everything in the exhibit comes from the private collection of Lars Nordin, a Swedish advertising executive, who has been an active collector for 20 years. While I recognized several of the images, especially the stills from her most famous movies (Queen Christina, Camille, Ninotchka and Anna Karenina), many images were new for me.
The exhibit also contains other interesting memorabilia, some objects owned by Garbo as well as her autograph written with a goose quill. This last piece is apparently quite a rarity as Garbo never signed autographs and didn't like to even write her name.
The exhibition runs all summer (until August 21st) and is one of many great summer exhibitions at Fotografiska. Other ones include Bryan Adams and Nick Brandt. The museum has very generous opening hours which makes it easy to add to your itinerary, especially if you only have a short time in Stockholm. The museum is open from 9am to 11pm Sundays through Wednesdays and between 9am and 1am on Thursdays through Saturdays. The only days they are closed are Midsummer's Eve and Christmas Eve.
Fotografiska is located on the waterfront of Södermalm. The easiest way to get there from the Rival Hotel is to walk (15-20 minutes). The hop-on/off boats also make a stop there during the summer months. They also have a great restaurant, though in the summer months this closes and instead they have an outdoor grill restaurant called Växtgrillen.

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