Hildegard Dinclau was a textile artist who was best known for her home furnishing textiles – such as rugs and upholstery fabrics – but who also produced goods for churches, hospitals, and boardrooms.
Hildegard Maria was born in Stockholm in 1890. Her father, Fredrik Emil Dinclau, was an ironworker who later became an engineer. Her mother was called Klara Erika, née Pettersson. Hildegard Dinclau also had a sister. Around the time of the 1900 census the family were registered as members of Nacka congregation.
Hildegard Dinclau trained at Högre Konstindustriella Skolan (subsequently Tekniska skolan, but now known as Konstfack, college of arts, crafts and design) in Stockholm, where she graduated in 1912. Immediately after gaining her qualifications, during the 1912–1914 period, Hildegard Dinclau worked as a pattern-designer for Föreningen Svensk Hemslöjd in Stockholm. At the same time, up to 1915, she also ran various rural weaving classes, including for the Nääs handicraft training programme and for a weaving-course offered at Fogelstad in Julita, run by Elisabeth Tamm.
During the 1916–1918 period Hildegard Dinclau was the director of Konstslöjdsanstalten at Lunds Kulturhistoriska museum (now Kulturen). In 1914 her work was also represented by a rug displayed at the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö. From 1918–1923 she worked as pattern-designer for Thyra Grafström’s Textilatelier (textile studio) in Stockholm, where she excelled at producing thoughtfully created patterned damasks. She was also in charge of the Grafström weaving studio at Nordiska Kompaniet (NK, department store). During this period her creations were often displayed under the aegis of Grafström and NK and at the 1919 Röhsska Textilkonstutställning (textile art exhibition).
Hildegard Dinclau’s rugs were included in international exhibitions, such as the 1926 Kvindelige Kunstneres Samfund exhibition in Copenhagen. She was a member of Svensk Form and of Konsthantverkarnas Gille. During the Inter-war period her rugs were widely displayed, including in New York in 1927 and in Paris in 1937. Several of her rugs went on tour during the 1928–1929 period as part of the international exhibition of glassware and rugs held in America. Further, at the 1928 Liljevalchs gallery exhibition called Bygge och bo, Hildegard Dinclau’s work was represented by a rug called Röda gallerimattan.
From 1923 until 1958 Hildegard Dinclau served as artistic director at Johanna Brunsson’s school of weaving in Stockholm, where her various duties encompassed running courses and organising exhibitions. She was also responsible for the school’s display submitted to the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition. This display incorporated her own upholstery fabrics and rugs, such as the imaginative flossa rug called Takterassen, which was 140 by 260 centimetres in size. The artistic inspiration for this rug reflected elements of both modern asymmetrical shapes and more classical forms containing abstract vines, reminiscent of ancient rock carvings. Hildegard Dinclau’s works can be seen at Stockholm National museum, whilst her hand-made sketches can be found within Jämtland-Härjedalen handicrafts association pattern collection.
Hildegard Dinclau was resident in Stockholm for most of her life. She died in the Swedish capital in 1974 and is buried at Sollentuna cemetery.