The art alone is worth at least one visit. Halmstad Theater is absolutely brimming with artistic ornamentation. You will find it everywhere – on the floors, ceilings and walls.
All kinds of materials are represented; glass, metal, mosaic, paintings and textiles. The Surrealists of the Halmstad Group have left a particularly strong impression. Why not take the opportunity to look around when you come to see a show? You’re very welcome!
When Halmstad Theater was built, art was an intrinsic part of the plan from the very beginning. Fleeting performances aren’t the only source of artistic experiences. They truly permeate the entire theater building – 24 hours a day, all year round. This is art of the highest quality, rooted in the contemporary trends of the early 1950s. Please allow us to proudly present the artists who have made their mark on Halmstad Theater: The Halmstad Group, Edvin Öhrström, Lena Stare, Barbro Nilsson, Sven “X-et” Erixon, Liss Eriksson, Hans Fagerström, Erik Törning, Pierre Olofsson and Karl Axel Pehrson.
Exploring the art on your own
As soon as you pass through the entrance doors of the theater, you can immediately tell that the building is brimming with culture. One might say that it’s in the walls. But you’ll also find art on the ceiling. Take the opportunity to enjoy it all when you visit us for a performing arts event. Here we offer you a short and handy guide to the art.
Thanks to the baker who fought for the theater
Near the stairs down towards Festsalen we encounter the first ornamental work from one of the members of the Halmstad Group – Axel Olsson’s wall mosaic The Worker Builds Society – an homage to the baker and politician Yngve Lindgren, who fought for Halmstad to get its theater venue.
Tapestry art of the highest order
When you climb the beautiful marble staircase and gaze up towards the right, you can admire Barbro Nilsson’s fantastic tapestry, The Port of Lisbon. It was woven from a sketch by Sven “X-et” Erixson. When you reach the top of the stairs, you can veer a bit to the left along the railing to take in the entire tapestry in all its splendour. It was a gift from the City of Halmstad in honour of the opening of Halmstad Theater in 1954.
Iron latticework, The Virgin, glass sculptures and silver masks
After you have walked past the cloakrooms, turn left towards the doors into Stora Salongen, and then pause for a moment. On the left you will see an latticework created by Erik Olsson, entitled The Play-Actor. Among the characters in the lattice are Apollo with his lyre and Harlequin. Immediately after you have passed the latticework, cast your gaze towards the corner by the window. There you will see Liss Eriksson’s beautiful bronze sculpture, The Virgin.
If you then let allow your eyes to wander along the row of windows, you will see the light glinting off of Edvin Öhrströn’s glass sculpture, Corona. A bit further away you can also admire Lena Stare’s silver masks – so fitting in a theater.
The Halmstad Group depicted the development of the theater
The wall to the right of the entrance to Stora Salongen is occupied by a large fresco painting by all the members of the Halmstad Group. The title of the painting is The Development of Theater Through the Ages. Each artist has chosen a theme related to theatrical history.
Axel Olsson portrays “The Ancient Drama” and Erik Olsson “The Mystery Play”. “Puppets” is Esaias Thorén’s contribution, while Sven Jonson has chosen “Music”. Stellan Mörner’s part of the work is named “From the World of Theater”. and Waldemar Lorentzon has chosen to portray “The Drama of Life”.
The magic of Stora Salongen
The new red velvet curtain is framed by two murals by Halmstad artists Hans Fagerström and Erik Törning. To the right of the stage you will see Erik Törning’s painting with motifs inspired by outer space in the form of figures related to the constellations. Hans Fagerström’s Cubist painting to the left of the stage harmonises beautifully with the ceiling paintings by Pierre Olofsson and Karl Axel Pehrsson. The magnificent chandelier was designed by the architect Gösta Hedström.
Unfortunately, Stellan Mörner’s enormous stage curtain, Konstmedien går [literally translated, “Art Media Goes”] is missing from the venue. It had to be taken down for fire safety reasons and is awaiting a grand new home where it can show off the full splendour of its colours.
Premises named after local artists
In addition to all the above art, the Halmstad Group is represented in the meeting and conference rooms, which are also named after three of the artists – Erik Olson, Axel Olson and Esaias Thorén. Stora salongen also bears the name of Stellan Mörner, and Festsalen in the basement is formally named after Waldemar Lorentzon.
Barbro Nilsson och Sven X:et Erixon
Barbro Nilsson (née Lundberg), 1899–1983, was a Swedish textile artist. She was the head of the Textiles Department at Konstfackskolan from 1947 to 1957. As artistic director of Märta Måås-Fjetterström’s weaving studio in Båstad between 1942 and 1970, she created a myriad of carpet compositions, often in multiple colour schemes. One of these, The Port of Lisbon, is displayed here at the theater. It was woven from a sketch by Sven “X-et” Erixson – one of Sweden’s great painters.
Sven Erixson began using the nickname “X-et” early on. His versatility led him to use various means of expression and different materials in addition to painting: graphics, glass, textiles, scenography and costumes, and interior design commissions for large spaces in public buildings. Sven worked as a professor at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm for a decade. Sven “X-et” Erixson was born in 1899 and died in 1970.
On the left side of the doors to Halmstad Theater’s Stora Salongen is a fantastic glass work of art. The artist is Edvin Öhrström (1906-1994), who was a sculptor, glass artist, illustrator and graphic artist. Öhrström grew up in Halmstad and trained as a drawing teacher at the Technical School in Stockholm (1925-1928) and at the Academy of Fine Arts (1928-1932), where he focussed on sculpture and studied under the tutelage of Carl Milles and Nils Sjögren. Öhrström was awarded a Chancellor’s Medal in 1930, a royal medal, and a travel scholarship in 1932 that he used to travel all over Europe. Edvin has create many public works of art, the most famous being the glass obelisk Crystal - vertical accent on Sergels torg in Stockholm. But we also have a granite sculpture by the artist, The Royal Meeting, outside the town hall here in Halmstad. For him, no material was off-limits.
The Royal Meeting depicts the meeting between the Danish King Christian IV and the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf in Halmstad in 1619. The incident occurred when the last ransom on Älvsborg Fortress was to be paid. In true 17th century spirit, the pay-off was combined with a party. Both kings were known party-lovers, and it is said that they had to be carried to bed after the feast. Around the stone, the celebrating people and life in Halmstad are depicted.
The stage in Halmstad Theater’s Stora Salongen is flanked by paintings by Erik Törning and Hans Fagerström that are typical of the era of the theater’s construction. In Törning’s work to the right of the stage, we see figures taken from astrology. Halmstad-born Erik Törning (1928-1999) was a Swedish painter, illustrator and graphic artist. He studied at the Swedish Sloyd Society’s school and under Endre Nemes at Valand’s painting school in Gothenburg from 1947 to 1951, and also took study trips to the Netherlands, France, Spain and Italy. Together with his brother, he was among the Halmstad Group’s younger members. Among other things, he participated in the group’s exhibitions at the Halland Art Museum and at Liljevalch’s Stockholm salons. He was a Swedish representative at the Biennale in Paris in 1961. That same year, he participated in the Swedish Artists’ Association’s exhibition at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm.
The magnificent chandelier in Halmstad Theater’s Stora Salongen was designed by the building’s architect, Gösta Hedström (1895-1966). He trained as an architect at the Technical Elementary School in Borås and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. In 1925, Hedström joined the consumer-owned KFAI, where he was to remain until 1956. During his time at KFAI, he designed several stores for the Cooperative Association, among them Sweden’s first self-service store at Odengatan 31 in Stockholm, which opened in 1941 (!). If you thought self-service stores were a modern invention, well then we’ve got news for you... Hedström also participated in the Stockholm Exhibition 1930. Among other things, he was responsible for the design of “Folkets hus” in Gävle and “Halmstad’s Folkets hus and Theater” in Halmstad (now Halmstad Theater).
The Halmstad Group
The six members of the Halmstad Group – Sven Jonson, Waldemar Lorentzon, Stellan Mörner, Axel Olson, Erik Olson and Esaias Thorén – were perhaps best known for their pioneering contributions to Swedish art in the 1920s and 1930s, earning a place in the history books by introducing Surrealism in Sweden. But over time the members also evolved to follow their own individual paths. In the 1940s and 1950s, several of them created a variety of ornamental works for public spaces. Many of these are site-specific works and frescoes. Halmstad Theater is a typical example of such an endeavour. Here you will find the artists’ works in various forms and materials: metal, paintings and mosaics. Often these ornamental works have Cubist and Concretist elements, legacies of the Modernism in which the group had been schooled. In the 1960s, however, several of the group’s members reconnected with Surrealist imagery.
The members of the Halmstad Group shared a common past – the encounter with modern art in a thriving Europe, the discovery of Surrealism and the years of the Söndrum Colony.
As an artist collective, the Halmstad Group is unique in that it was never formally dissolved. The six artists remained an artist group throughout their lives. It was only when Stellan Mörner retired in 1979 that the group disbanded after 50 years of unification. Thus, it became one of the longest-lasting artist groups in the history of art.
Mjellby Art Museum External link, opens in new window. has a large, permanent collection of the Halmstad Group’s work. This makes it possible to continuously hold varying exhibitions of the its pioneering contributions to Swedish art history.
We are so proud of the artistic flair the Halmstad Group added to Halmstad Theater that we have chosen to name our conference rooms after these gentlemen.
The stage in Halmstad Theater’s Stora Salongen is flanked by paintings by Erik Törning and Hans Fagerström that are typical of the era of the theater’s construction. Fagerström’s abstract painting to the left of the stage echoes the Concretist ceiling painting. Hans Fagerström (1921-2000) was an illustrator and visual artist. He studied at Anders Beckman’s advertising school, as well as under Waldemar Lorentzon (the Halmstad Group). Fagerström acted as Lorentzon’s assistant in the execution of the decorative paintings in Ryssby Church in 1951. He is also represented at Nationalmuseum, in the collections of King Gustav VI Adolf, and at the Halland Art Museum. You can find Fagerström’s art (both paintings and sculptural works) in several churches and parish halls in Halland and Småland. In Halmstad: St. Anna Chapel, Vallås Church and Martin Luther Church, and Harplinge Church.
Karl Axel Pehrson
In Halmstad Theater’s Stora Salongen you can admire the ceiling painting by Karl Axel Pehrson and Pierre Olofsson. They were two of the members of the artist group “Men of 1947”. Karl Axel Ingemar Pehrson (1921-2005) was a Swedish painter, graphic artist and sculptor. Pehrson studied at Berggren’s painting school in Stockholm, at Otte Sköld's painting school, and under the tutelage of Fritiof Schüldt, Sven Erixson and Otte Sköld at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. He was one of the “Men of 1947” and participated with them in the exhibition Young Art, presented at Färg och Form in 1947. In the late 1940s, he broke onto the scene with a purely nonfigurative but motion-filled style of painting, where colour planes and lines intersect into and over each other. He and Pierre Olofsson created our ceiling painting in this style. Karl Axel Pehrson also designed the Swedish film prize Guldbaggen in 1964, an enamelled and gilded copper beetle. This timeless prize is still being awarded.
Lena Stare was a trained silversmith and worked in Halmstad from 1982 to 2011. She was educated at Gothenburg’s Academy of Design and Krafts HKS (now the School of Design and Crafts, HDK) from 1955-60.
Lena’s art is represented in Halmstad Municipality, Ängelholm Municipality, Falkenberg Municipality, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and Teckningsmuseet in Laholm. Here at Halmstad Theater you can admire two fantastic silver masks created by Lena Stare.
Liss Eriksson’s bronze sculpture The Virgin stands adjacent to Erik Olsson’s iron latticework in the upper foyer. Liss was born in Stockholm in 1919. He began studying to be an architect but discontinued his education and instead studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm from 1939 to 1944. In 1947, Liss Eriksson participated in the Young Art exhibition at Färg och Form, which led to the genesis of the artist group “Men of 1947”. This exhibition has been mentioned in art history texts as the single most important factor for the breakthrough of Concretism in Sweden. He then travelled to Paris with his future wife, the artist Britta Reich-Eriksson, and remained there until 1951. Liss Eriksson was one of the most important sculptors of his time. His work adorns many places and public spaces throughout the country. He died in 2000.
If you are in Stora Salongen, turn your eyes up to the ceiling. It has been decorated in the Concretist style by Pierre Olofsson and Karl Axel Pehrson – two members of the artist group “Men of 1947”.
Pierre Olofsson, 1921–1996, was a student at Otte Sköld’s painting school before studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts from 1938 to 1943. He went on to work as a painter, graphic artist and sculptor. Pierre was the only one of the “Men of 1947” who remained completely devoted to Concretism. Nonfigurative art became his hallmark. Through clear colour contrasts, he created the illusion of space. His impressions of the artist Paul Klee led Pierre to a geometric construction of rotating rounds, ovals and spirals. In this way, he achieved the illusion of movement and endless rhythm.