Marianne Richter was a textile artist and is best known for her rya-wool rugs and her large wall hangings. She designed a large number of patterns which became classics and are well-known both in Sweden and beyond.
Marianne Richter was born in Helsingborg in 1916. Her father, Carl Emil Leonard Richter, was a merchant and later managing director. Her mother was Sonja Elisabeth Richter. Marianne was brought up with six siblings in Helsingborg. Her daughter Sara, born in 1949, followed in her footsteps and became a textile artist. Much later in life, in 1974, Marianne Richter married Carl Lindroth, professor at Lund University.
Marianne Richter trained as a textile designer at Tekniska skolan in Stockholm. She also tried other artistic techniques and became particularly interested in clay. She simultaneously worked as an apprentice at Märta Måås-Fjetterström’s workshop in Båstad.
Marianne Richter’s first job was with the Kronoberg region hemslöjdförening (handicraft association) in Växjö. In 1945 Barbro Nilsson, who was in charge of Märta Måås Fjetterström’s workshop in Båstad, succeeded in drawing Marianne to Bjäre. During the 1950s Märta Måås Fjetterström’s company in Båstad was referred to as “the weavers’ temple in Sweden”: here the finest Swedish rugs and drapes were produced.
Marianne Richter’s first design for Märta Måås Fjetterström’s workshop was the rug called Forsythia, which was woven using the “flossa” technique. Gula trädet was made in 1945 using a similar technique. At this time Marianne also designed the rug called Hästhoven. She combined thick and thin woollen threads with flax in order to create unique nuances and structures.
Marianne Richter had a great interest in botany and thus flowers recur frequently as a theme in her creations, as seen in her rugs Blåklint and Rödklint. The rug Fasad, with its elegant, geometrical patterns, is still one of the Swedish public’s favourites. In 1945 Marianne Richter designed Röda Havet, which depicts light grey-coloured cresting waves against a red foundation. Other well-known oceans also inspired Marianne Richter, such as Kattegatt and Gula havet. Marianne Richter’s textile art frequently makes use of ship motifs, as seen in Hamburgskutor, Västerviksskutor and Masthugget. At the 1955 Helsingborg exhibition (H55) Marianne Richter displayed her large woven tapestry Båtar. It brings to mind the stone carvings of ships under full sail seen in Gotland.
Marianne Richter’s textile art can be found embellishing several official premises. Perhaps her most important tapestry is the one that was commissioned for a conference room at the UN building in New York. The tapestry, a gift from the Swedish government, was first hung in 1951 and was called “the world’s largest tapestry” by the press. It spans 200 square meters. Several Swedish embassies, including the one in Brasilia, contain textile works designed by Marianne Richter. The tapestry in Brasilia was, however, destroyed as a result of being treated with fire retardant. Another of Marianne Richter’s magnificent works is a curtain which was woven for a hospital in Karlskrona. She also produced a large pictorial tapestry, Strandvägsskutor, for Handelsbanken’s office on Strandvägen in Stockholm. It depicts tall-masted ships in warm reds and yellows. In 1960 Svenska bryggareföreningen (the Swedish brewers’ association) were presented Marianne Richter’s tapestry Korn och humle as a magnificent gift from other Nordic brewers’ associations. In 1961 Marianne was commissioned by Operakällaren in Stockholm to produce the tapestry Karneval.
Marianne Richter also worked for other employers apart from Märta Måås Fjetterström’s company in Båstad. She designed many patterns for Gävle Ångväveri, such as Tuppduken, 1969. She further designed a series of rugs for AB Wahlbeck’s factories in Linköping called Östergyllen, of which two of the patterns were called Löfstad and Kolmården. Marianne Richter also created hundreds of “tomteflickor” (female elves) and regular female dolls with hand-painted faces.
Marianne Richter died in 2010 in Mölle. She is buried under her married name Lindroth at Brunnby cemetery.