Barbro Nisson – The Woman and Her Rugs
Barbro Nilsson (1899-1983) was a world famous textile artist who rose to fame in Gothenburg’s new concert house in the mid-1930’s. Barbro Nilsson took over Marta Maas Fjetterstrom workshop in Bastad as chief designer in 1942 after the demise of Fjetterstrom in 1941. In the same year that she took over the mantle of leadership, the studio was renamed MMF AB and became a public liability company.
Shares sold by this new company attracted many influential personalities like King Gustaf V of Sweden who bought into the workshop. The firm under this new leadership experienced its most successful period (1942-70). While the grass root handicraft revival movement was developed and nurtured by Fjetterstrom, it became a huge success in the international community under the guidance of Nilsson.
Before she became the chief designer of Marta Maas Fjetterstrom, Barbro Nilsson was previously the head of the textiles department at the Konsttackskolan in Stockholm in the 1950’s. Nilsson very much toed the lined of her predecessor, Marta Maas Fjetterstrom and continued providing high quality vintage mid century rugs to companies and establishments in Sweden. Her favorite designs were pile and flat woven Kilim rugs and she also used the tapestry technique to her advantage.
In contrast to Barbro Nilsson, Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom emphasized line over color while Nilsson on the other was an avid colorist who enlivened her Swedish rugs through the use of colors. She wove the famous Salerno blue rug line design in which she exhibited her mastery of color in subtle variations of blue. The effect was a rug that was splendid and beautifully woven. Some of her Scandinavian rugs were known to contain more than 20 color schemes.
Much of her works are sought after and adorn public buildings, establishments and churches throughout the world. Inspired by nature, Nilsson incorporated stylized line and nature into her astonishing designs.