11 October 2014–19 April 2015
In Baltic Reflections the renowned Russian artworks, shown at the Baltic Exhibition in 1914, hang alongside turn of the century Scandinavian art.
The vast Baltic Exhibition, which opened in the Swedish city of Malmö in May 1914, showcased the industry, art and culture of five of the countries then bordering the Baltic Sea – Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Russia and Finland (then a Grand Duchy of Russia).
It developed into one of the biggest celebrations of art ever seen in the Nordic region, with more than 3,500 works on show across 56 galleries.
By the time it closed in October 1914, Germany and Russia were fighting on opposite sides in the global conflict. It was considered too risky to return the Russian paintings by boat across the U-boat-infested Baltic, so many of the works remained in Malmö.
It was not until after the Russian Revolution, civil war and the creation of the USSR that some of the paintings were returned to their rightful owners in 1923. Some were bought by Malmö Art Museum, some donated, and others were never claimed.
In 2014, in Baltic Reflections, Russian works by Pavel Kuznetsov, Nikolai Milioti, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin and Valentin Serov hang alongside paintings by Vilhelm Hammershøi of Denmark, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, from Finland, and Sigrid Hjertén, Ester Almqvist and Anders Zorn, from Sweden.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication that puts the Baltic Exhibition into its historical and cultural perspective, reassessing its significance. Articles deal specifically with the Russian and Swedish contributions to the show, as well as the wider artistic milieu between such key concepts as Realism, Expressionism and the breakthrough to Modernism.
The book includes essays by Professor David Jackson, Leeds University, Torsten Gunnarsson (former Director of Collections at Nationalmuseum, Stockholm), and by Cecilia Widenheim, Martin Sundberg and Anders Rosdahl from Malmö Art Museum.