Karin Mamma Andersson

  • Words Emily Nathan
  • Photography Staffan Sundström
  • Styling Naomi Itkes

Inside the moody, mysterious world of Sweden’s preeminent painter.

  • Words Emily Nathan
  • Photography Staffan Sundström
  • Styling Naomi Itkes

The Swedish painter Karin “Mamma” Andersson is reluctant to recount how she got her name. “Everybody always asks me about that, so it’s boring to me now,” she says, and launches into the tale, making me promise that I’ll keep it to myself. It’s a good story, and it takes us back to her art-school days as a bright-eyed fugitive from the country’s dark north—a lonely girl who found her place in the big, cold city. At the heart of the story is a kernel of amiable perversity, a mischievous refusal to do what’s proper or what’s expected, and it’s there that I discover a foundational truth about her, an essential characteristic that can be found blossoming throughout her saturated, soulful canvases: Mamma Andersson is an outlaw. 

You’d never know it, by looking at h...

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