In the Stockholm suburb of Bergshamra, Solna, there is a 1960s-era concrete student housing complex called Kungshamra. In the middle of the complex is a local sledding hill, and it’s about the last place you’d expect to find a work of art by Pablo Picasso.
Nevertheless, here at the top of the hill sits a towering, 25-foot concrete Picasso sculpture. The piece is called “Dykande Måsen,” or “Diving Seagull,” and this abstract plunging bird is made in the style of Picasso’s close friend and collaborator, Carl Nesjar.
Nesjar, a Norwegian painter and sculptor, created a technique of “painting” on concrete by mixing little black rocks into the mortar. Picasso and Nesjar met in 1957, and the two became friends and partners in making art. They would select one of Picasso’s drawings or sculptures and enlarge it using Nesjar’s technique to create a gigantic concrete version of the artwork. The pair created some 30 works of art from their collaboration, including the Diving Seagull of Kungshamra.
The Picasso is a fitting, if surprising, sculpture for the Kungshamra complex, which was designed by architect Allan Skarne in the prefab concrete style popular in the midcentury. Skarne loved concrete, and donated the Nesjar Picasso piece to mark the new construction. It was erected in 1969 on top of the sledding hill where it stands today.
Know Before You Go
Walk straight from the Bergshamra metro until the road curves strongly to the left. Keep going straight into the student residence area and you'll walk right up to the sculpture.