2023-04-02 – The Mystery of the Missing Swans and Maidens: A Frida Hansen Tapestry Tale (Webinar)



April 2, 2023 (4:00-5:00 pm CT)


Robbie LaFleur


This is an online class hosted on Zoom.  


Class description:

Back in 1903, Norwegian-born socialite and tapestry teacher Berthea Aske Bergh was determined to show Americans the brilliance of Norwegian billedvev, or tapestry. She traveled back to Norway and purchased Sørover (Southward), a tapestry of swans and maidens with shimmering threads from the famous Art Nouveau artist Frida Hansen.

Southward was an important, often-displayed monumental tapestry, so when the curators for the blockbuster show, Scandinavian Design in the United States, 1890-1980, sought key textiles, Frida Hansen’s tapestry was top of mind. But where was this 11 x 10 foot weaving now? Only a few grainy black-and-white photos and many glowing descriptions remained.

In January 2021, nearly 90 years after Southward was last displayed publicly, noted rug dealer Peter Pap opened a Tupperware container in a storage building in Maine. He unfolded a woven treasure in dusty, but pristine condition, and with a quick google search, he learned it was a long-lost Frida Hansen tapestry.

The veil of mystery, as well as the dust of decades, has been removed from Southward. The Frida Hansen masterpiece was restored to the world in time to add to the Scandinavian Design exhibit during its recent run at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and at the Milwaukee Museum of Art, showing March 24-July 23, 2023.

Join Robbie LaFleur for this timely webinar to celebrate the life and work of Frida Hansen and, especially, to hear about the Southward tapestry mystery as it unfolded.

Photo Credit: Peter Pap


Students will need to provide a computer, laptop, or tablet with a camera and mic as well as a fast, reliable internet connection.


Special Instructions:   

When registering for the class, please make sure to use the mailing and email addresses you'd like the Zoom meeting invitations sent to. You will receive links to the Zoom sessions by email sometime during the week prior to the class. If this class is a gift, please sign up with the recipient's mailing and email addresses or be prepared to forward the kit and all communications. 


Click here to learn more about instructor Robbie LaFleur.


Please note: When you register, you will receive an automated email with the Zoom link. If you do not already receive emails from Vesterheim, please register your email address with us here before completing your registration to ensure the link is sent to you.


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