Behrens, aged 31, receives prize money of SEK 150,000 (€17,500) and a solo exhibition at Färgfabriken's gallery at Liljeholmen in Stockholm.
Jenny Lindén Urnes, daughter of the late founder of the Beckers Art Award, Ulf Lindén, chaired the award jury.
She and her fellow jury members praised Behrens for "intelligently focusing attention on the complexity of the art of depiction".
Parallel differences and similarities
"After 600 years, oil painting continues to offer us opportunities to explore our environment," the award citation said.
"Elin Behrens sees parallel differences and similarities between different rhetorical imagery and means of expression, exploring them by combining painting with photography and painted objects."
Educated at Malmö Art Academy, Behrens straddles the divide between painting, objects and photographs in her art.
Blurring the line
"I call myself a painter, but my method is rather conceptual, and the artworks themselves may might as well be photographs or objects," she said.
"By blurring the line between different categories, I try to find out what painting is to me: a way of relating to the world rather than a specific technique."
Behrens said the prize money would enable her to work full-time on her art and to experiment and research new areas.
"Above all, this award is a great encouragement - a sign of my work reaching out to people."
Established in 1987, the Beckers Art Award has been awarded to several of Sweden's most innovative and exciting young artists, such as Dan Wolgers (1989), Jockum Nordström (1999), Linn Fernström (2000), and Nathalie Djurberg (2006).