About the Museum
If you’re at all interested in art, Rackstad is an exhilarating experience.
One wing hosts a permanent exhibit of early 20th century art by the members of the Rackstad Colony. The lower level, which changes faces throughout the year, features fine local craftsmanship of the same era. A park-like area with sculpture by Christian Eriksson and his son Liss surrounds the museum. Don’t forget to take a stroll on the grounds and saunter over to nearby Oppstuhage and the Nytomta handicraft court.
Built in 1998, the new hall houses the museum’s temporary exhibits of pre-modern, modern and contemporary art.
The museum’s website provides up-to-date information about current and future exhibits and concerts.
The Rackstad Colony
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.
Christian Eriksson designed and built his home and studio in the mid-1890s, while living in Paris. He wanted to move back home to Taserud with his French wife Jeanne Tramcourt. The house was completed in 1896 and is filled with beautiful details completely in keeping with the spirit of the times.
Christian had good help from his brothers in the carpenter’s shop in Taserud. His friend Petter Andersson at Myra made the beautiful forged handles and other fittings.
The family lived a few years in the house, but his most important clients were elsewhere in the country, including in Stockholm. It eventually became necessary for him to move to the capital.
The studio was rented to the artist couple Gustaf and Maja Fjaestad, who came as newly-weds to Oppstuhage in the summer of 1898. Over the years, more artists came to live in the house, among them Björn Ahlgrensson with wife Elsa, and Fritz Lindström with his first wife Anna and two children.
Christian eventually sold Oppstuhage to a relative and Arvika Council bought the farm in 1946. In 1951 it was declared a building of historical and cultural interest. During 1994-1995 Oppstuhage was restored as closely as possible to its original condition.
Adjacent to Oppstuhage, in the 1920s, Christian had a summer studio built. The framework of the house came from an older nail smithy. From the outside it is a red painted wooden house with a mansard roof in traditional style. Indoors there is a light and functional studio and facilities for rest or sleeping. The house is open to visitors on certain days during the summer season.