Born in 1899, Barbro Nilsson nee Lundberg, is recognized as one of the most prominent Swedish designers and weavers of the 20th century. Her aptitude for designing had been noticed and acclaimed while she was a student in Stockholm’s popular art academies. The career of Barbro Nilsson started in 1920, after she made textile cartoons and massive tapestry versions of modern Swedish art by Sven Erixon.
From the very beginning, her professional life was flourishing. She was a teacher at the University of College of Arts, Crafts and Design, in Konstfack, Stockholm from 1934 till 1947. Later, in 1947, she became the head of textile department there.
A highly momentous event in Nilsson’s career took place in 1942, when she became the artistic director and leading designer at the Märta Måås-Fjetterström atelier. She is commonly known to contribute a lot to the treasures of rugs and textile designs of Fjetterström. Continuing the tradition of Fjetterström, Barbro Nilsson conducted the whole business through its most prosperous years (from 1942-1970).
Artistic sensibility had always been present in Nilsson’s family. Barbro’s mother was not only a gifted painter, but also a garden architect. Moreover, the master weaver married a sculptor and her son became a photographer.
There is no getting around the fact that Nilsson’s knack for designing was influential. In her designs, she put special emphasis on color, as well as playing with it, so that the whole project gave the impression of being fresh and bright. As for her early works, she drew inspiration from traditional Swedish decorative art elements and the country’s folk heritage. Later, she was influenced by modern design. The fact that is worth mentioning is that some of the most recognizable designs produced by Märta Måås-Fjetterström atelier are in fact assigned to Nilsson, which is her huge success.