Swedish collector Fredrik Karlsson is a rookie in the art collector scene. Nonetheless, he has plenty of experience when it comes to collecting. As a vintage-lover and a classic design addict, he has an inspiring collection of furniture that sparked his interest in art. Meet a collector with a strong appetite for new art adventures.

Fredrik Karlsson
Fredrik Karlsson
  • Name: Fredrik Karlsson
  • Location: Stockholm
  • Started collecting in year: 2013
  • Number of artworks in collection: 5
  • Instagram: freddekarlsson

How did you become an art collector?
I have always been fascinated by and interested in style and design. I started collecting furniture by Poul Kjærholm a couple of years ago and by the time my collection had grown and I had moved to a bigger apartment, my interest and passion for art had increased too. In my view, you cannot have a lot of good furniture without something nice on your walls, so I guess that made me interested in art as well.

I definitely have to say the hunt, but the joy of ownership is lovely too. Nothing, however, beats the excitement of having hunted a certain piece for a long time and finally getting the chance to buy it.

How would you describe yourself as an art collector?
I am quite new to this world, and I am looking forward to getting more into it over time. I really enjoy having good art on my walls at home and I find it very interesting to get to know more about the process of creating an artwork. How did it end up like this? What is the story behind it? There is an abundance of questions, which makes the art of collecting so fascinating.

What was the first artwork you purchased?
The first real paintings that I purchased were two works from the Swedish artist Lukas Göthman. I find his works really interesting and cool. I got to visit his studio through a friend and fell in love with the two works, which marked the tentative beginnings of my collection. Then I had the opportunity to visit Landon Metz in his studio in Brooklyn, New York, in the summer of 2016 and bought a piece from him; that was really cool, and we are still in contact every once in a while.

What is the main motivation behind your collecting?
I don’t know if I have a main motivation behind my collection except for the joy of hunting and ownership of works.

Artwork by Swedish artist Emma Bernard
Artwork by Swedish artist Emma Bernard.

Describe your collection in three words.
That is pretty tricky, but I’d have to say: conservative, modern and simple. I don’t like stuff that’s too ‘crazy’ and there has to be some kind of harmony in the work in order for me to add it to my collection. In my opinion, that is the most important thing; if it brings a smile on your face then it is right.

Is there any particular type of art that appeals to you or anything that unites all the works in your collection?
So far I have had and enjoyed mostly abstract and contemporary / modern art, so that is a main characteristic in my collection, I would say.  

What considerations do you take into account before you buy a piece of art?
As of today, I haven’t had the biggest budget for buying a specific artwork, so the price has been a significant factor and I would be lying f I didn’t take the aspect of eventually losing money when selling into consideration. I have always been that way, no matter if it is a chair, sofa, watch, or art, I want to know if the piece has potential of increasing in price or being stable. I don’t buy the works because I want to make money – it is my hobby and passion after all – but a good return will always be a bonus since, sometimes, you have to sell, which is hard, and a good return might make that decision a little easier.

Artworks by American artist Landon Metz
Artworks by American artist Landon Metz. To the left a vintage Alvar Aalto pinewood screen.

What do you enjoy the most: The hunt associated with collecting art or the joy of ownership?
I definitely have to say the hunt, but the joy of ownership is lovely too. Nothing, however, beats the excitement of having hunted a certain piece for a long time and finally getting the chance to buy it. It is an obsession, I guess.

How important is it for you to meet the artist behind the artwork?
As I said, I have been lucky enough to meet two of the artists behind the works in my current collection and it was really cool to get insights into their lives and thoughts. I would love to continue meeting other artists but I wouldn’t say it is super important. Sometimes the chance for that to occur is minimal or even totally impossible since, unfortunately, they could be dead.

Do you have a desire to have your collection shown?
I wouldn’t consider my collection right now good enough for being shown, and that has never been my purpose either. I do this for myself and it has become one of my more prominent hobbies.

Vase by Gunnar Nylund
Vase by Gunnar Nylund.

What are the wishes for the future of your collection? What would you like to see happen to it?
I would like to see it increase by several new artworks over time, of course. I like a mix of lithographs, drawings and bigger oil paintings on canvas / frame.

What work of art do you wish you owned if the price tag did not matter?
A dream come true would be purchasing a bigger painting from Franz Kline and hanging it in my living room. That would be so cool. I would be sleepless for a month, I think!

Longing for You
‘Longing for You’.

How do you know when you stand before a really great piece of art?
Since I am quite new to this and don’t know too much about art, my experience of an artwork is based on a feeling. The feeling I get when standing in front of a piece of art tells me if I like it or not, or even if I would like to hang it in my own home. That is the wonderfully complex thing about art; it is irrational and a personal feeling that can’t be measured.

What is the best advice you have given or been given in terms of art collecting?
This is a tough one, since everyone is different, but the most important advice I can give to someone in general is to go by gut feeling. Whatever makes you happy is right. Don’t wait, make it happen; tomorrow could be too late.

Christopher Wool poster: The Show Is Over
Original Christopher Wool poster, ‘The Show Is Over’, 90s. Furniture by Poul Kjærholm and vase made by Alfred Johansson.

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