Beautiful Vintage Scandinavian Salerno Blue by Barbro Nilsson for Marta Maas Rug, Country Of Origin: Sweden, Circa Date: Mid-20th Century – Barbro Nilsson is one of the most iconic rug designers of the mid-20th century. She was first a student of the already-famous Marta Mass-Fjetterstrom, and upon the death of her teacher, would take over the operation of the studio. The designs of Marta Maas emphasized line more than color. However, the work of Nilsson extended the use of color in her pieces to create depth and emphasize various areas of the design. Blue was one of her more frequent color choices.
This beautiful Swedish rug is an excellent example of the work created by Nilsson after she became the studio director. The piece uses shades of soft blues, ivory, and black in a geometric pattern that could just as easily belong to contemporary interior design trends as mid-century ones. This piece emphasizes the vertical lines but softens them with the gentle transitions of blue. The piece has a precision in the design that gives the piece rhythm and a sense of time.
Nilsson intentionally used what is called “abrash” in the blue squares that move along the center of the piece. This refers to slight differences in the color of the yarn. Nilsson limited the use of these color variations to the center design and used consistent colors on the outer edges and borders. This creates a gradient effect that softens the transitions from one blue to the next.
The skill of a master artist is apparent in the design and craftsmanship of this piece. The work of Barbro Nilsson was highly collectible in its time, and these rare pieces are still as collectible today, if not more so. More recently, contemporary designers are turning to the mid-century for inspiration. They are using geometrics and mixed patterns in new and exciting ways. The latest color trends include colors that reflect the natural world, such as bluebird, creamy mushroom, and coastal blue. This authentic retro vintage rug would fit perfectly into today’s contemporary trends.