The activities of Rackstad Museum have their origin in the artist Christian Eriksson, who grew up in Taserud, where his father ran a small farm and furniture business. Christian travelled around as ”journeyman” in order to improve his skills in furniture making, but was led by artist friends in Paris into a life of art.
The Rackstad colony was a group of friends, all artists – Gustav Fjæstad (1868-1948) and Maja Fjæstad (1873-1961), Bjorn Ahlgrensson (1872-1918) and Fritz Lindström (1874-1962) and others, who were active in the area around the turn of the century (1900). In 1898 Gustaf and Maja Fjæstad rented Christian Eriksson’s studio house ‘Oppstuhage’. Later they moved to Kampudden by Lake Racken, where they built their own house and studios. Maja, as well as being a talented painter and graphic artist, was also a good textile artist. She was part of the group of strong enthusiasts who started Sweden’s oldest craft shop, Arvika Handicrafts in 1922.
After Gustav and Maja came Björn Ahlgrensson with his wife Elsa to Arvika. They settled in Perserud by Lake Racken. A few years later Fritz Lindström moved to the neighbourhood. These artists, together with some local painters such as Alfred Ekstam, Bror Sahlström, Ture Ander (1881-1959) and Bror Lindh (1877-1941) are the backbone of the group of artists known as the Rackstad colony.
The driving force for young artists of the time was a nationalistic romantic longing for nature and the environment and costumes of country folk, as well as a search for light, darkness and sadness. Another important reason for living in a rural area was the opportunity for cheap accommodation and access to food. Rackstad museum combines local art history and craftsmanship with contemporary art and crafts, locally, nationally and internationally.