Mrs Thyra Peterson´s Memorial Collection of Swedish American Art


The exhibition shows a number of paintings from the Swedish-American art collection that was donated to Småland’s museum in 1935 by Charles S. Peterson, in memory of his wife Thyra Peterson.

Mrs Thyra Peterson´s Memorial Collection of Swedish American Art show paintings by around 20 Swedish-American artists, active during the first half of the 20th century. Subjects range from vast prairies, deep forests and stormy seas to emerging infrastructure and communities. Through the eyes of the artists, the new country is depicted, in changing seasons, lights and moods.

Charles and Thyra Peterson

Charles S. Peterson was born in Filipstad in Värmland and emigrated to America when he was 15 years old. In Chicago he established himself as director of the Peterson Linotyping Co. and later also became an influential municipal politician. He married Thyra Hjertqvist in 1901, a second-generation Swedish-American with roots in the Swedish towns of Växjö and Alvesta.

The Petersons got involved in Swedish-American association life and over the years became well-known cultural figures in Chicago. They shared a great interest in art and acted as patrons of Swedish artists who had emigrated to America. Among other things, they were a driving force behind several Swedish-American art exhibitions. The couple also supported the artists by buying art and over the years building up a private collection.

After Thyra’s death in 1933, her husband decided to donate a large part of the collection to Småland’s museum, as a tribute to his wife and her family ties to the region.