After Increasing Profits 10X at Hästens, Carl Larsson Leaves to Guide LA Clients in Buying Art

By Nina Potischman Nina Potischman has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on October 11, 2022

Carl Larsson was only 15 when he sold his first painting. The son and grandson of art dealers, Larsson was still a teenager when he began working for his father at a Swedish gallery specializing in Scandinavian art and design. Four years later, he moved to Bukowskis, an auction house in Stockholm. In the years since his career began, he’s built a name for himself as a managing partner of Hästens Beds, an art reporter, an Art Marketing Strategist, and most recently as an art advisor for celebrity clientele.

When I called Larsson at his Stockholm apartment he was sitting in front of a painting by Swedish artist Jim Thorell. After working at Bukowskis, Larsson explained that his work propelled him beyond Sweden. “I wanted to go away and do something on my own,” Larsson he told me. “I was in New York and Paris and started a blog called the Art Reporter. It became my platform to write about shows.”

The Art Reporter quickly gained a substantial social media following and catapulted Larsson’s career as an Art Marketing Strategist. From there, Larsson began hosting small shows in intimate settings. “I wanted to do something outside of the typical white cube setting of the gallery,” Larsson explained. His decided to stage shows in churches, unique homes, and other unconventional spaces.

This distinctive approach set Larsson apart in his field. Soon after Larsson moved to Los Angeles, he was commission by Avicii, an LA-based Swedish DJ, with helping him build his art collection. In their work together, Avicii introduced Larsson to up-and-coming artists, further establishing Larsson as a key player in the LA art scene.

Around this time, Larsson reconnected with a friend from the same small city in Sweden who was running a gallery and Hästens, a company specializing in luxury beds. At Hästens, Larsson drew on his experience in the art world to build the brand’s reputation.

“Our main focus during this time was also to create an experience,” Larsson says. “We thought the brand was a little bit old fashioned. So we took our knowledge from the gallery world, and we created a sanctum where people could walk in and learn about sleep, to understand why the beds were at such a high price point.”

For one such event, Larsson created an immersive exhibition in Doolittle House in Joshua Tree. “It’s a special house created by one man over the course of twenty years. We had work from emerging LA artists and older Light and Space artists. We included a custom 14-foot bed with a circular mattress,” Larsson says. After four years with Hästens, Larsson helped increase the business’ value tenfold.

During his tenure at Hästens, Larsson built relationships with a number of celebrities. Oprah Winfrey, whose sleep doctor is a Hästens collaborator, worked with Larsson. Other notable clientele include Beyoncé, Jay Z, Lewis Hamilton, Drake, Courtney Cox, Tom Cruise, and Oscar De La Hoya.


Hästens custom circular mattress at Doolittle House in Joshua Tree. Photo courtesy of Daniel Sahlberg.

As demand for Larsson’s advisory services increased, he reduced his role at Hästens to move squarely into the art world. He describes his work as an art advisor as intuition based. “I sense what my clients like, and what kind of environment they want to build,” Larsson said. “There’s the visual side, the beauty. We rarely bring up the market until later.”

Having lived in Stockholm, New York and Los Angeles, Larsson believes the Los Angeles art market is in for a major shift. “There are fewer advisors in LA than in New York,” Larsson explained. “The market is less saturated there, so more collectors are moving to LA. Artists are changing coasts because rents are lower and they can get a bigger space. There are places where artists can catapult themselves from small to biggest galleries in less than five years. LA is very exciting when it comes to the art market.”

When I asked Larsson about LA artists to watch, he highlighted a few people he has his eye on, including Austyn Weiner, known for her Renaissance-style paintings of figurative faces, and Swedish landscape painter Camilla Engström, whose dancing videos have gained on Instagram.

Larsson was one of the earliest adopters of Instagram in the art world. Social media continues to be a significant component of his work. “Instagram has become a huge variant in the art market,” Larsson said. “Galleries are building virtual platforms to expand their reach, especially benefitting smaller galleries. Working with clients, we can see the works of artists all over the world. Social media is probably the most revolutionizing tool the art world has ever had.” 

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By Nina Potischman Nina Potischman has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Nina Potischman is a writer based in New York covering contemporary art and culture. She writes both fiction and cross-genre work focusing on the body, autoimmune illness, and disability. Nina also runs Queerings, a jewelry business focused on LGBTQ+ culture. She holds a BA in English Literature from Pomona College and will pursue an MA in English Literature from the University of Exeter in the fall of 2022.

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