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Friends
  • TitleFriends
  • Technique/ MaterialTempera and gold on panel, tondo
  • DimensionsDimensions: (h x b) 204 x 260 cm
    Frame: (h x b x dj) 237 x 294 x 8 cm
  • DatingExecuted between 1900 and 1907
  • Artist/Maker Artist: Hanna Pauli, Swedish, born 1864, dead 1940
  • Depicted PersonKarl Otto Bonnier, Swedish, born 1856, dead 1941
    Carl Gustaf Laurin, Swedish, born 1868, dead 1940
  • CategoryPaintings, Paintings
  • Classificationpainting
  • Inventory No.NM 1723
  • AcquisitionInköp 1911
  • Collection Svenskt 1800-talsmåleriLjus och mörkerKvinnliga konstnärer الضوء والظلامالنساء الفنانات
  • Description
    Artist/Maker
    Images and media

    In the large drawing room, which is suffused with a warm light and a contemplative atmosphere, a group of people have gathered. Centre-stage, in the light of the evening lamp, sits Ellen Key, reading to her friends. In the twilight, they have all come to the home of the Pauli family at Bellmansgatan 6 in Södermalm, Stockholm. The painting can be seen as a monument to the meaning of friendship and at the same time as an element in the launch of a new cultural elite. Hanna Hirsch-Pauli sits as an observer in her own drawing room, pen and pad in hand, watching her friends. She has presented them as a close-knit circle, but with each person characterised individually. Initially it was some of the women who were socialising, but the group later expanded to include Hanna and Georg Pauli’s artist friends from their Royal Academy days and their time in Paris as well as others from the art colonies in Barbizon and Gréz-sur-Loing.

    The names of the Friends illustrate how closely the new cultural elite of the time was connected with the financial elite. In the late 1870s, Ellen Key had given private lessons to a group of upper middle class girls from Stockholm’s Jewish community. Three of them are depicted in Friends, at the table by Ellen Key, whom they saw as something of a mentor when it came to their intellectual, social and emotional development. Ellen Key was a philosopher and one of Sweden’s more controversial and well known cultural figures. Her thoughts on love, parenting, marriage and sexuality influenced generations around the turn of the 20th century. Ellen Key sought to break down the divide between private and public life. She felt that the home should be a model for the whole of society. She sought to politicise the home and family relations through books such as Beauty for All, 1899 and The Century of the Child, 1901.

    Caption: From left: the artist’s sister Betty Hirsch, actress Olga Björkegren, Lisen Bonnier, artist Nanna Sohlman Bendixson, Ellen Key, Hanna Hirsch-Pauli, Gerda Berg and the artist Richard Berg, publisher Karl Otto Bonnier, artist Georg Pauli, educationalist and writer Artur Bendixson and author Klas Fåhreus (plus unknown figure in the window.)