Britas archive: the fight for Bellevue

Brita Eldh (1907-2000) was the daughter of Carl and Elise Eldh. In 1963, she established a foundation in her parents’ name and then ran the museum on her own until the early 1990s. Currently, the work of cataloging Brita’s left-behind material is being completed with the support of the The Swedish National Heritage Board and Region Stockholm. Here we share some glimpses from the archive.

As the curator of Carl Eldh’s Ateljémuseum, Brita took care of administration, PR, exhibitions, cataloguing, and all the practical care of the collection and the house more or less alone. In 1968 she moved into the studio’s new extension, a small apartment to the east that extends the original study. Here she lived and worked, in a studio where the boundaries between a home and a business, the private, public and professional were constantly under negotiation.

The work with the museum was periodically marred by conflicts with the authorities about Bellevuehöjden and the future of the surroundings. Brita’s combativeness became visible when Bellevuehöjden was threatened in the seventies and eighties by plans for a highway, and in the nineties by new office buildings. Together with, among others, Ingegerd and Greger Carpelan, who also lived on the hill, she organized protests and actualized the cultural and historical values of the area in family days and special screenings. Petitions were made available for signing at the museum, and the attention attracted many new visitors.

In 1980, Brita was awarded DN På Stan’s Gudlkänga award with the motivation: “With a great deal of idealism and personal sacrifice, she has taken care of her father’s studio in Bellevue and is now in the middle of the fight to save the environment around Brunnsviken.”

Brita also helped initiate the process of marking the studio and its garden as a listed cultural monument, something that only became a reality in 2010.