Greta Magnusson Grossman
From Stockholm to Beverly Hills
10 February - 16 May 2010
The furniture designer Greta Magnusson Grossman moved from one groundbreaking project to the next. From a career as a young furniture designer with her own shop in Stockholm before the Second World War, to a becoming name in the Californian world of experimental architecture in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The Museum of Architecture of the time presented the history of one of Sweden’s most original, but at the same time least known careers as an architect.
The exhibition started in the 1930s and the beginning of Greta Magnusson Grossman’s career with training and work in her own firm, Studio in Stockholm. As a furniture designer, she designs and produces furniture in house, carries out interior design and set design assignments, and takes part in a number of exhibitions.
Greta left Sweden in 1940 together with her husband, the band leader Billy Grossman. Having settled in Los Angeles, she started a new career in the field of architecture and design. Her clients included buyers of houses and interior furnishings. She also designed furniture for a number of furniture companies, including Barker Brothers, Ralph O. Smith & Co and Glenn of California.
Grossman opened a new shop in Los Angeles, now in the fashionable address of North Rodeo Drive. The product range was described as modern Swedish furniture, lamps and other items for interior decoration.
The exhibition provided an introduction to and a summary of her works, which were characterised by simplicity, humour and a desire to experiment in new materials. The exhibition included furniture and fittings, original drawings and sketches, prototypes, textiles, photographs, film clips and a full-scale model of a living room interior.
The production, initiated by the Museum of Architecture, was a collaboration with the 20th Century Gallery, New York. The TAF firm of architects designed the exhibition. The project was implemented with the support of the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.
In connection with this, a book was published under the title of Greta Magnusson Grossman — A Car and Some Shorts, with Andrea Codrington as main author and Evan Snyderman and Karin Åberg Waern as editors. This was the first major publication about her life and work. The book contains a great deal of visual material in the form of photos, drawings and sketches, as well as a chronological list of works. Graphical layout by Henrik Nygren Design. The book won the Swedish Silverägg [Silver Egg] award in 2011.
After Stockholm, the exhibition was displayed at the Price Tower Arts Center, Bartlesville, Oklahoma and the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena.
Photo: Matti Östling / ArkDes