Hertha Hillfon debuted in the 1950s with previously unseen abstract ceramic sculptures. In the 1960s, she changed direction to more naturalistic clay copies of everyday items: a child's shirt, a rucksack, a loaf of bread, a floor cloth ... In the 1970s and 1980s, she shifted focus once more, concentrating on portraits and masks, often in large format. She created numerous large faces - many of them monumental - all radiating the same quiet, meditative feeling.
The large studio, workshop, home and garden in Mälarhöjden (which she called a “kär-lekstuga” - a refuge of love and fun) is filled with her fantastic sculptures, and it is hard to understand how she could have created all these on her own - in parallel with all the works that are to be found in institutions, companies and public settings.
She died in October 2013 at the age of 92. Until the end of her life, she continued working in her combined home and studio in Mälarhöjden, where she had lived and worked since the 1940s.
Among her commissions, Hertha Hillfon was responsible for the decoration of the Danderyds hospital metro station, the sculptures of Astrid Lindgren at The Astrid Lindgren Paediatric Hospital and outside Junibacken children's museum, Trumslagaren (The Drummer) on Hötorget and Frida och kaninen (Frida and the Rabbit) in Rinkeby.
The collection is on view in the artist's home in Mälarhöjden 29 August - 7 September and on 9 September the 255 works will be sold at auction. The lots include large sculptures such as the full-figure portrait of Astrid Lindgren and Frida och kaninen in clay, a monumental mask modelled on the actress Malin Ek, as well as numerous small, abstract sculptures from the artist's early period, and examples of everyday items such as the simple little child's shirt and the loaf of bread.
Hertha Hillfon at Stockholms Auktionsverk
Viewing: 29 August - 7 September, Sexstyversgränd 3-5, Mälarhöjden
Auction: 9 September, Stockholms Auktionsverk, Nybrogatan 32