History of the Museum
The Nordic Watercolour Association was formed, an society open for watercolorists from the Nordic countries. The aspiration was to found a Nordic watercolour museum to serve as forum for Nordic watercolour artists and for work, research and instruction in watercolour techniques, paper and paints.
Attempts were made to test the validity of these plans. The response from museums and artists was very favourable and a project outline was prepared.
The Association inquired of some 40 local authorities up and down Sweden's west coast as to whether they were interested in collaborating in the project. More than 20 replied positively. The Association's plan was that the museum should be located in beautiful surroundings, near the sea and somewhere between Oslo and Copenhagen.
The island of Tjörn was selected as the site, on the water's edge in a charming archipelago among sea and rocks. The Association now enjoyed the support of an enthusiastic and go-ahead local authority, and collaborative work began to create a network including museum officials, researchers, knowledgeable and interested artists, teachers in visual arts and designers. A society of friends of the museum was started, which served as an interim board during the initial year. Benita Nilsson was appointed as project leader for this ambitious and exciting cultural initiative, following her several years as chairperson on the local authority arts committee. The first step was to establish the project firmly among decision-makers at local authority, regional, national and Nordic levels. During this time ideas for the museum's range of activities developed further, and the programme for a Nordic architectural contest was presented.
The Danish architects Niels Bruun and Henrik Corfitsen won the contest with their design "Mötet", thus concluding the largest Nordic architectural competition ever held (there were a total of 386 entries). The planning of the actual museum construction and of its activities could now commence. The setting up of the museum's sponsoring body - with the Nordic Watercolour Association and the Tjörn municipality as founder members - was completed with Professor Inez Svensson as chairperson.
Work was mainly concerned with financing the construction and the running of the museum, with matters of planning and with determining the fields of activities. Invaluable assistance in this work was provided by the start of a series of Nordic seminars. The architect Peter Orhstedt, S.A.R., took over the chairmanship of the Foundation.
In the spring, the construction of the museum began. Berndt Arell was appointed as museum director and artistic manager for the Nordic Watercolour Museum, and the pace of activities was speeded up.
The museum was ready for its inauguration.