Friday, October 05, 2007

The Mansion of Milles

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On the cliffs at Herserud, in the suburb of Lidingö - incidentally the neighbourhood where you can drop by Espresso deli & coffeeshop if you're looking for a place to eat or have a coffee - you'll find the wonderful mansion of world famous Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, Millesgården. With an amazing view overlooking one of Stockholm's inlets and the industrial area and port district of Värtahamnen (hamn = port).
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You reach the place with subway to end station Ropsten, where you change to either the charming old tram Lidingöbanan - get of at the very first station, but be prepared to battle a very steep foot road that'll leave you more or less breathless, and not because of the pretty view... - or a bus. Which will either take you right to the main entrance of Millesgården or allow you to have a nice walk through a quiet, beautiful residential area with many grand and not so grand villas. Your choice.

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Milles sculptures can be found all over the world, although most of them in Sweden and the States - he lived there for 20 years and became an American citizen in 1945. He bought the Herserud property 1904, the mansion and garden was finished in 1908 and he and his wife used the place as their summer residence until he died in 1955. But he had actually donated the property to the Swedish state as early as 1936. It was opened to the public in the late 1930ies. Both Carl Milles and his wife Olga are buried in a small chapel at Millesgården.

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I don't visit Millesgården nearly as often as one should, it is indeed such a lovely place, inspirational as well as soothing. Not only the vast, splendid garden with all it's sculptures and art - and Milles' statues are actually not the kind that makes me shiver in fear... There's just a very friendly ambiance around them. And you seem to find new ones and hidden areas everytime you walk around there... - but also the museum building hosts different kinds of exhibitions all year around.

Two of the most memorable exhibitions I've been to, years ago, are one with paintings by Frida Kahlo and the either with sculptures by Auguste Rodin. Now there's an excellent photo exhibition with a Finnish socialrealism photographer, more than quite depressing in parts but also rather wonderful, and very suggestive.

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I'm not too fond of the newish, modern building on the property that's now the main building, gift shop and entrance to the garden though. I so preferred the old, original house and home of Milles that used to host both exhibitions, art and gift shop. It had a very cosy, homely atmosphere to it, resembling the Thielska Gallery.

Mustn't forget to mention the excellent restaurant/café Bistro on the property either - more about that in another post - which you can visit without paying an entrance fee if you so wish. So worth a visit, both for the food - great vegetarian selection and yummy cakes, i e pretty much what one needs... - and the experience of enjoying that food in the cosy outdoor terrace area weather permitting.

Now, without further ado, here are some pictures from this place, one of Stockholm's many "places of wild strawberries" - and as usual more photos can be found in my Flickr album - it'll at least give you a glimpse of that lovely day I had there earlier this week.

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Can you spot the UFO that magically appeared...?
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Millesgården even inspires to the making of folk art just outside the entrance gates...


Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

A wonderful post, Pia! The photos are great and thanks for the very interesting info. Milles work is delightful.

Have a lovely weekend!

John D. said...

Special delivery for Miss K! Your blog is beautiful. : )

Pia K said...

Thanks, Fénix! And the same to you:)

Oh I'll enjoy that basket this weekend - thank you very much, John:)

stromsjo said...

Some very good shots, as usual, even a UFO this time. You have an overwhelmingly positive approach sometimes. I don't think I've ever come across an amazing view of an industrial area... ;) That red-something glowing in the sunlight is simply beautiful.

Pia K said...

Just what I thought when I had written that it was a lovely view over that area, is this the right choice of words... - and I think it is, even if the area in itself, seen from other angles is quite horrific, it becomes a part of a beautiful view as seen from Millesgården.

Seen from the Lidingöbanan early in the wintermornings, sun rising, the area is just magical - though completely impossible to get a decent picture of for various reasons.

Yup, I have my moments of extreme positivity, there are just too many times in life when there are no virtues to be seen - so I tend to get the most out of the others...:)

Thanks for the kind words btw.

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