Karl Bertil Gadö

The Artwork of Karl Bertil Gadö

Born in Malmö in July of 1916 to railway official Karl Emil Gadö and Hedvig Maria Persson, Karl Bertil Gadö was a Swedish painter and graphic artist. In addition to his self-study, he received formal training between 1933 and 1935 at the Skåne Painting School (Skånska Målarskolan) in Malmö. Gadö’s work and that of his contemporaries was inspired by political ideologies of the 1930s and ideas posed by the prominent Surrealist movement; the combination of these two forces created a new form of art, magic realism.

Gadö first exhibited his work in 1939 at a collective exhibition in Malmö. In 1943, he had his first solo exhibition in Malmö and later exhibited in 1947 at a group exhibition in Malmö’s City Hall. Works by Gadö were included in the 1948 “God Konst i Alla Hem (Good Art in the Home)” exhibition held at the HSB-Huset in Fleminggatan, Stockholm. Along with landscape painter Lars Engström, he regularly participated in Skåne’s art exhibitions. 

From 1948 to 1952, Karl Bertil Gadö was a member of the Imaginisterna, an avant-garde surrealist artist group founded in 1948 by painter and designer Max Walter Svanberg. This group of artists, who were looking for an alternative approach to surrealism, left the detailed style of Salvador Dali in favor of the artistic works of artists like Max Ernst and Paul Klee. Members of the Imaginisterna included such Swedish artists as painter Max Walter Svanberg, painter and lithographer Carl-Otto Hultén, painter Anders Österlin, and book illustrator and cartoonist Gösta Kriland.

Gadö was also a member of the Skånsk Avantgardekonst, or the Skånes Avant-Garde Art: he participated in their 1949 exhibition at the Malmö Museum and the 1951 exhibitions held in  Hälsingborg and Stockholm. Gadö presented his work in the 1951 Biennial held at the Museum of Modern Art in San Paulo, Brazil. He was also represented in the same year at an exhibition of Skåne artists held in the Liljevalch Art Hall in Stockholm.

In the 1960s, Karl Bertil Gadö presented intense experiences of nature in his work. Various animal species were presented as symbols of life’s struggle in scenes foreboding disasters and devastation; he also emphasized in his work the ideals of  independence and man’s willingness to find his own way in life. Around 1980, a culmination of Gadö’s work was a series of images whose content revolved around cosmic motifs. Most of these paintings were executed with clear contour lines; between these lines, the spaces were covered in a limited scale of brown and gray tones. 

Gadö worked for decades with public works in relief, free sculpture, mosaics and stained glass. These works contained content similar to his paintings with the earlier ones containing strong abstract compositions. Karl Bertil Gadö died in 2014, at the age of eighty-eight. His work is held in both private and public collections. Major collections include the Malmö Museum and the Moderna Museet of the National Museum in Stockholm.

Note: An extensive study entitled “Surrealism, Occultism and Politics: In Search of the Marvelous”, which dwells on the motifs, thoughts and techniques of Surrealism’s various artists and writers, is a well researched article that explores the relationship between Occultism and Surrealism. The article can be found at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/arena-attachments/1418044/4266cce09074ad02812bbef9fd73cc1b.pdf?1510498215

Second Insert Image: Karl Bertil Gadö, “Uppe i Projektet”, 1990, Oil on Canvas, 130 x 100 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Karl Bertil Gadö, “The Miracle”, Date Unknown, Colored Woodcut, Edition of 25, 36 x 35 cm, Private Collection

Nils Asther: Film History Series

Photographer Unknown, “Nils Asther”, July of 1932, Publicity Shot for Cine-Mundial, A New York-based Spanish Magazine

Born in Copenhagen in January of 1897, Nils Anton Althild Asther was a Swedish gay actor who was active in Hollywood from 1926 until the mid-1950s. He was the son of Anton Andersson Asther and Hildegard Augusta Åkerlund, who had accepted his father’s proposal but was unwed at the time of Nils’s birth. Asther spent his first year as a foster child and rejoined his parents after their marriage on May 29th of 1898 in the city of Malmö. He grew up in a deeply religious Lutheran home, where homosexuality was considered a sin by the church and viewed as a disease by Swedish society.

Nils Asther, still a young man, moved to Stockholm where he studied acting under the tutelage of Swedish silent-film and stage actress Augusta Lindberg. Through the endorsement of his teacher, he received his first theatrical engagement at Lorensbergsteatern, the art performance theater in the city of Gothenburg. Asther performed in several productions in Stockholm which included two plays in 1923, “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “ The Admirable Crichton”, and the 1924 production of “Othello” at the Royal Dramatic Theater. 

In 1916 at the age of nineteen, Asther was cast by the pioneer Swedish film director Mauritz Stiller for his silent film “Vingarne (The Wings)”. This production was based the novel “Mikaël” by the internationally recognized Danish author Herman Bang. It starred silent-film actors Egil Eide, Lars Hanson, and Lill Bech, with Nils Asther in a supporting role. Besides being an early gay-themed film, it is recognized for it innovative use of a framing story, a main narrative which is divided into a set of shorter stories, and for its use of flashbacks as the primary plot source. Although only thirty minutes of its seventy-minute length survived, a 1987 restoration used still photos and title cards to bridge the missing sections. 

Now residing in Copenhagen, Nils Asther received support from actor Aage Hertel, a member of the Royal Danish Theater and a leading actor at Nordisk Film. Between 1918 and 1926, Asther appeared in a number of film roles in Denmark, Sweden and Germany. After being approached by a representative from United Artists, he traveled to Hollywood  where he was given the role of  George Shelby in director Delmer Lord’s “Topsy and Eva”, a 1927 silent drama produced by Feature Productions. By 1928 Asther’s suave appearance placed him in leading roles; he soon played opposite such stars as Marion Davies and Joan Crawford.  

Asther appeared in director Harry Beaumont’s 1928 “Our Dancing Daughters”, a silent drama depicting the dangers of loose morals among the young. The film cast included John Mack Brown and Joan Crawford; it was this film role of Charleston-dancing, Prohibition-era drinking Diana Medford that launched Joan Crawford’s career. Asther was next given the leading role of handsome Prince de Gace, who played opposite Greta Garbo’s role of Lillie Sterling, in director Sidney Franklin’s 1929 drama “Wild Orchids”. Though often listed as a silent film, it was released as a non-talking film with orchestral score, sound effects, and title cards for dialogue. Asther had previously known Garbo in Sweden and would continue to be close friends; they appeared together in a second film of the same year, the MGM romantic drama “The Single Standard”. 

With the arrival of sound in film, Nils Asther began voice and diction lessons to minimize his Nordic accent. Due to his accent, many of his early roles in sound films were characters of foreign origins. Asther appeared with Robert Montgomery and, once again, with Joan Crawford in Clarence Brown’s 1932 drama “Letty Lynton”, which recounts the historical murder allegedly committed by nineteenth-century Glasgow socialite madeleine Smith, played by Crawford. In 1933, he was given the role of General Yen in Frank Capra’s drama war film “The Bitter Tea of General Yen”, where he  played opposite Barbara Stanwyck and, after its premiere, received good reviews for his portrayal.

After an alleged breach of contract led to a studio-based blacklist, Asther was forced to work in England between the years 1935 and 1940. He made six films in England before his return to Hollywood. Upon his return, Asther made nineteen more films before 1949; however, he was mostly given small supporting roles from which his career never returned to its former height. During the early 1950s, Asther attempted to revive his career with appearances on television which was becoming a rapidly growing phenomenon in the United States. Managing only to secure roles in a small number of minor television series, he decided in 1958 to return to Sweden. Asther had four film roles and an engagement with a local theater before 1963, at which time he retired from acting and devoted himself to painting. 

Nils Asther passed away on the 13th of October in 1981, at the age of eighty-four, at the Farsta Hospital in Stockholm. He is buried in the village of Hotagen, located in Jämtland, Sweden. Asther was inducted in 1960 into the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the film industry; his star is located at 6705 Hollywood Boulevard. 

Asther was a gay man in a time when it was both a personal and professional social stigma. Although the film industry in the 1920s accepted gay actors with little reservation, the actors had to remain discreet about their sexual orientation. In August of 1930, Asther entered into a lavender marriage with Vivian Duncan, one of the his costars from the 1927 “Topsy and Eva”. This turbulent marriage produced one daughter and resulted, after much media discussion, in a divorce in 1932. 

Nils Asther’s memoir, “The Road of the Jester: Not a God’s Tale: A Memoir”, was published posthumously in 1988 in Stockholm. In this volume, he mentions relationships he had in the 1930s with director Mauritz Stiller and Swedish author Hjalmar Bergman. Asther also had a long-term relationship with actor and  stuntman Ken DuMain, whom he met on Hollywood Boulevard in the early 1940s. 

Top Insert Image: George Hurrell, “Nils Asther”, circa 1930s, MGM Publicity Still, 25.4 x 33 cm, Private Collection

Second Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Nils Asther and Greta Garbo”, 1929, MGM Publicity Shot

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Nils Asther”, French Postcard by Europe, No. 909, MGM Studio Publicity Shot, Date Unknown

Fourth Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Nils Asther”, Date Unknown, Publicity Shot, John Kobal Foundation, Getty Images

Bottom Insert Image: George Hurrell, “Nils Asther and Joan Crawford”, 1932, MGM Publicity Shot

Johan Wahlstrom

Paintings by Johan Wahlstrom

Top Image: Johan Wahlstrom, “Worn Out”, 2016, Urethan, Color Pigments on Canvas, 101.6 x 76.2 cm

Second Image:  “Room Mates”, 2016, Acrylic, Urethane, Color Pigments on Canvas, 76.2 c 76.2 cm

Third Image: “Life is Now”, 2016, Urethane, color Pigments on Canvas, 238.8 x 149.9 cm

Born in Stockholm, Johan Wahlstrom is a fifth-generation Swedish artist who began his creative life as a keyboardist and singer, performing with his own band as well as with musicians Ian Hunter and Graham Parker. Leaving the music stage after twenty years, he moved to a small village in France and began to pursue a life of visual art, painting part of the time under the tutelage of Swedish artist Lennart Nyström.

Inspired by the Art Brut movement and particulary Jean Dubuffet and Paul Klee, Johan Wahlstrom creates works combining abstraction and figurative forms. In his more figurative and narrative paintings, Wahlstrom presents his social and political commentaries; a strong critique of authoritarianism and fascism is a recurring theme that appears in many of his dark images of the contemporary world.

Johan Wahlstrom came to New York in 2015 and is currently living and working in Jersey City, New Jersey, with a studio located at the Mana Contemporary Arts Facility. He also has a second studio in Marbella, Spain. Wahlstrom started his theme of distorted faces in 2008 with his exhibition in Barcelona entitled “It’s Boring to Die”, which contained the above images. He continued this series until 2014, with exhibitions in New York, Bonn, and Zurich. This series had a limited pallette of colored pigments, mixing his distorted faces with layers of abstraction, gradually becoming more complex in the presentation.

 

Calendar

A Year: Day to Day Men: 15th of October, Solar Year 2018

Lost in Thought

October 15, 1674 was the opening day of the witch trials held in Torsåker, a parish in Sweden.

The great wave of witch hysteria reached the parish of Torsåker, after the sensational trial of the alleged witch Märet Jonsdotter in central Sweden in 1668. Sweden’s Lutheran priests, at this time, were state-employed, causing them to follow the government’s instructions. These priests were ordered to use their sermons to inform their congregations of alleged crimes committed; rumors of witchcraft spread over the country. The priest of Torsåker parish, Laurnetius Christophori Hornæus, who was a man with a terrifying reputation, was ordered by a special commission of the government to perform an investigation.

The witnesses at the trial were mostly children, as the main accusations against the alleged witches was that they had abducted children on the sabbath of Satan. Hornæus had several methods to get the right testimonies from the children. He whipped them, bathed them in the ice cold water of hole in the lake’s winter ice, and put them in an oven, threatening to light the fire below and burn them. These acts were confirmed later in 1735 by Hornæus’ own wife, whose grandson added that these children, sixty years later, were still fearful of the priest, his grandfather.

On October 15, 1674, the witch trial of Torsåker began. About one hundred people of both sexes were accused by the children, making it the biggest witch trial in the country. The prisoners were kept in several different locations in the village, were given almost no food, but were allowed to receive food from their relatives. There is little existing records of the actual trial itself; however, it is known that seventy-one people were found guilty of witchcraft, sixty-five women and six men.

After the last sermon in the church of Torsåker, those found guilty were led to the place of execution, crying and protesting their innocence. Many fainted out of weakness and had to be carried to the middle of the parish, about half a mile from the parish churches, to a mountain area. There the prisoners were decapitated, shed of their clothes, and their bodies lifted on stakes. The stakes and additional wood were set on fire and the bodies burned.

Neither the commission or any local courts had the rights to conduct any execution. They were expected to report their sentences in any case to a higher court for confirmation before sentences could be carried out; the high court normally would confirm only a minority of the death sentences. In this case at Torsåker, no reporting was done and the prisoners were executed without any confirmation. No actions were taken against the commission which was defended by the town’s authorities.  In 1677, all the priests were ordered to tell their congregations that all witches had been expelled from the country forever in order to avoid further witch trials.

Carl Milles

Carl Milles, Orpheus Fountain Figures, Cranbrook Academy of Art and Design, Bronze

Carl Milles was a Swedish sculptor who studied in Paris, working in Auguste Rodin’s studio and slowly gaining recognition as a sculptor. In 1906 he and his wife, artist Olga Milles, bought porperty on the island Lidingo, near Stockholm. There they built a residence and a workspace for both of them. It was turned into a foundation and donated to the Swedish people in 1936, after Milles went to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the United States.

Calendar

A Year: Day to Day Men: 10th of August, Solar Year 2018

Leaves of Green

August 10, 1628 marks the sinking of the Swedish warship Vasa.

King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus, who was a keen artillerist, saw the potential of ships as gun platforms, and large, heavily armed ships made a more dramatic statement in the political theater of naval power. Beginning with the Vasa, he ordered a series of ships with two full gundecks, outfitted with much heavier guns. The Vasa was built simultaneously with her sister ship Applet; the only significant difference was Vasa’s three foot increase in width.

King Gustavus Adolphus ordered 72 24-pound cannons for the Vasa on the 5th of August 1626, and this was too many to fit on a single gun deck. Since the king’s order was issued less than five months after construction started, it would have come early enough for the second deck to be included in the design. The French Gallon du Guise, the ship used as a model for Vasa, according to Arendt de Groote, also had two gun decks. Laser measurements of Vasa’s structure conducted in 2007–2011 confirmed that no major changes were implemented during construction, but that the centre of gravity was too high.

On 10 August 1628, Captain Söfring Hansson ordered Vasa to depart on her maiden voyage to the naval station at Alvsnabben. The day was calm, and the only wind was a light breeze from the southwest. The ship was hauled by anchor along the eastern waterfront of the city to the southern side of the harbor, where four sails were set, and the ship made way to the east. The gun ports were open, and the guns were out to fire a salute as the ship left Stockholm.

As Vasa passed under the lee of the bluffs to the south, a gust of wind filled her sails, and she heeled suddenly to port The sheets were cast off, and the ship slowly righted itself as the gust passed. At Tegelviken, where there is a gap in the bluffs, an even stronger gust again forced the ship onto its port side, this time pushing the open lower gun ports under the surface, allowing water to rush in onto the lower gun deck. The water building up on the deck quickly exceeded the ship’s minimal ability to right itself, and water continued to pour in until it ran down into the hold; the ship quickly sank to a depth of 105 ft only 390 ft from shore.

Survivors clung to debris or the upper masts, which were still above the surface, to save themselves, and many nearby boats rushed to their aid, but despite these efforts and the short distance to land, 30 people perished with the ship, according to reports. Vasa sank in full view of a crowd of hundreds, if not thousands, of mostly ordinary Stockholmers who had come to see the great ship set sail. The crowd included foreign ambassadors, in effect spies of Gustavus Adolphus’ allies and enemies, who also witnessed the catastrophe.

Gösta Adrian-Nilsson

 

Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, “Knockout”, 1929, Oil on Canvas, 46 x 44 cm, Private Collection

Born in Lund, Sweden, in April of 1884, Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, known as GAN, was an artist working in both oils and watercolors, and writer of poetry and short stories. He is regarded as a founding member of the Modernist art movement in Sweden.

For his early education, Gösta Adrian-Nilsson attended a Technical Company School; he later studied at Danish historical painter Kristian Zahrtmann’s School in Copenhagen. In 1907, he entered his work in an exhibition held at the Art Museum of the University of Lund.  Adrian-Nilsson traveled to Berlin in 1913 where through author and critic Herwarth Walden’s gallery, Der Sturm, he came in contact with the contemporary art movements.

Both Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc were of huge importance when Adrian-Nilsson began developing his own style of expressive cubism, a semi-abstract style with deep, vibrant colors. Adrian-Nilsson became very influential in the radical art movement and was a member of the Halmstadgruppen, a group of avant-garde artists at Hamstad, Sweden, which continued unchanged until 1979. This group eventually included painter and sculptor Alexander Archipenko, painter and graphic artist Erik Olson, Sven Jonson, and Esaias Thorén. Initially cubists, the group was influenced later by Adrian-Nilsson’s surrealistic phase and his motifs of seamen.

Adrian-Nilsson was fascinated by modern technology and masculine strength, which was reflected in his images of sailors and sportsmen . Works of this nature include the 1914-15 “Katarinahissen I”, depicting two sailors amid a cubist blue-toned landscape, and “Sjömän i Gröna Lunds tivoli II”, a surrealistic work in blues and browns depicting sailors in Gröna Lund’s amusement park. Living a hidden life at a time that gay eroticism was both taboo and illegal in Sweden, Adrian-Nilsson expressed himself through these cubist and surreal images. 

By 1919, Adrian-Nilsson’s art was developing into pure abstraction. He lived in Paris between the years 1920 and 1925, during which time he met Alexander Archipenko and Fernand Léger whose influence can be seen in Adrian-Nilsson’s renderings of mechanically-styled sportsmen, seamen and soldiers. In the later part of the 1920s, Adrian-Nilsson was working in his geometric abstract period. He developed his own personal style of surrealism during the 1930s and exhibited his work in multiple  exhibitions, including the 1935 Kubisme-Surrealisme exhibition in Copenhagen.

Gösta Adrian-Nilsson died in Stockholm on March 29, 1965 and is buried at the cemetery of Norra Kyrkogården in Lund.

Gösta Adrian-Nilsson’s work is represented at the Nationalmuseum and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Gothenburg’s Art Museum, the Malmö Art Museum, and the Museum of Culture in Lund where his work constitutes a permanent exhibition of modernistic art. Adrian-Nilsson’s writings are preserved at the University Library of Lund.

Insert Image: Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, “Katarinahissen I”, 1914-15, Oil on Canvas, 86 x 56 cm, Private Collection

Sigrid Fridman

Sigrid Fridman, “Kentauren”, 1930, Bronze,  Observatorielunden, Stockholm

Considered one of her most famous works, “Kentauren” by Sigrid Fridman was placed on a hill in 1939 at the northeast corner of the observatory. It depicts the centaur Keiron, son of Chronos, tightening his bow.

In 1927, Fridman created a sculpture of Fredrika Bremer, the Swedish writer and feminist reformer.  This sculpture caused controversy about whether a woman should be engaged as a serious sculptor. When Fridman proposed her Centaur statue in 1928, his debate continued, with many male colleagues taking the position that women should only sculpt children’s portraits or small pieces that depicted femininity.

Completed in 1939, angry controversy surrounded the bronze centaur as well, with many complaining that the figure was not culturally sensitive as centaurs were not part of the national folklore. However, Sigrid Fridman continued her work; her sculptures are in many public spaces in Sweden. Her last work, “The Dripping Tree” was installed in 1963 near the city library of Odengatan the year after her death at the age of eighty four.

Simon Dahlgren Strååt

Simon Dahlgren Strååt, Unknown Title, (The High Board)

Simon Dahlgren Strååt, born in 1984, is a Swedish figurative painter, living and working in Stockholm. His narrative paintings provide a sombre and surreal window into the mind of the artist.

Dahlgren Strååt’s work is centered on the idea of time: more explicitly, the slowing down of it. He creates scenes that incorporate images from fiction, history or indeed everyday life. The work is his way of processing the things he sees and manipulating them into his own unique vision. The paintings become like narratives, where the viewer is invited in as a voyeuristic spectator and allowed to explore questions regarding their own self-image.

Dahlgren Strååt had achieved national success in his native Sweden, having presented his work in both group and solo exhibitions in Stockholm. During his time as a creative consultant, he received a number of prizes including, the D&AD White Pencil award in London and the One Show prize in New York.

Pelle Swedlund

Pelle Swedlund, “Gripsholm”, 1913, Oil on Canvas, 96 x 83,5 cm, Private Collection

Pelle Swedlund was a Swedish painter and curator at Thiel Gallery in Stockholm. He was a pupil at the Swedish Academy (1889-92) and completed his education in Paris and Brittany, where he met Paul Gauguin and together they experimented in making woodcuts. His contact with the Nabis circle of painters lead him in 1898 to visit Bruges, a place which was to fascinate and inspire him throughout his career.

At the turn of the century, Bruges, which was known as Bruges-La-Morte following Georges Rodenbach’s novel of that title, was a cult gathering place for Symbolist and mystical painters and writers and was particularly significant for Pelle Swedlund.

Reblogged with thanks to http://ufansius.tumblr.com

The Stealth Bomber

The Stealth Bomber Electric Bike from Sweden

Ultra-powerful electric bike with nine pedal speeds using an internal gearbox in the bottom bracket. Top speed of 50 miles per hour with a 1.5 kwh battery pack and 4,500 watt motor. Long travel front and rear suspension to soak up bumps and jumps, this thing is more motocross than ebike.

Erik Johansson

Surreal Photography by Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson, originally from Sweden, claims to capture ‘ideas’ in his work. Whether using photographs and digital editing, or even paint and hand made cardboard models to re-create an imagined vision, his completed images look as though they are perfectly genuine photographs.
In fact, every new image is a combination of hundreds of original photographs, sometimes with raw materials created by Mr Johansson himself, and dozens of hours spent in Adobe Photoshop to digitally alter and combine different elements to illustrate his idea.
Mr Johansson writes on his website that he uses photography as a means of ‘collecting material to realise the ideas in my mind’.

Eugène Fredrik Jansson

Paintings by Eugène Fredrik Jansson

Eugène Fredrik Jansson was a Swedish painter known for his night-time land- and cityscapes dominated by shades of blue. His earlier paintings have caused him to sometimes be referred to as blåmålaren, “the blue-painter”.

After 1904, when he had already achieved success with his Stockholm views, Jansson confessed to a friend that he felt absolutely exhausted and had no more wish to continue with what he had done until then. He stopped participating in exhibitions for several years and went over to figure painting. To combat the health issues he had suffered from since childhood, he became a diligent swimmer and winter bather, often visiting the navy bathhouse, where he found the new subjects for his paintings.

He painted groups of sunbathing sailors, and young muscular nude men lifting weights or doing other physical exercises. Art historians and critics have long avoided the issue of any possible homoerotic tendencies in this later phase of his art, but later studies have established that Jansson was in all probability homosexual and appears to have had a relationship with at least one of his models. His brother, Adrian Jansson, who was himself homosexual and survived Eugène by many years, burnt all his letters and many other papers, possibly to avoid scandal. (Homosexuality was illegal in Sweden until 1944.)

Stockholm Subway System

The Underground Art of the Stockholm Subway System

Certain stations in Stockholm’s T-Bana system, primarily along the city’s Blue Line, are singularly spectacular due to the city’s geology. Due to characteristics of the bedrock beneath the watery city, instead of boring, the metro’s stations and tunnels are simply blasted away – oddly fitting in the birthplace of Alfred Nobel. As a result, the system’s stations are grand cavernous spaces not wholly unlike certain Washington stations in scale, but, with the bedrock left exposed, they feature an eerie, cave-like atmosphere.

T-Centralen is the metro’s central station, located directly under downtown, where the system’s three lines meet. The older station, servicing the Red and Green lines, is rather utilitarian. But the connected Blue Line platforms form an extraordinary cavern covered in abstract patterns in bright blue and white designed by Swedish artist Per Olov Ultveldt in 1975.

Kungsträdgården station  takes a different tack, giving the sense of a Roman archaeological dig. Water drips down the walls behind statuary. Walking across a bridge near one entrance to the station, you look down into an overgrown garden of columns and fallen finials. The bedrock walls are left mostly exposed, hidden only by bold murals in red and green and black and white.

Solna Centrum station, farther outside the city center, is blindingly red. As seen in green and black murals along the track’s edge, Solna Centrum is meant to evoke the country’s spruce forests and the towns that harvested their lumber.

Emil Holmer

Paintings by Emil Holmer from His Show: Mobilization Table

‘Dead Letters’ is the Swedish painter Emil Holmer’s first solo show in Berlin. His Mobilization Table is a sort of mission statement for his approach to painting: the canvas is a frame into which objects are assembled over and against each other, and techniques are hand-made weapons for dissecting materials. Collages of pornographic material meet total abstraction; media swap roles. The paintings are composed like installations from smaller paintings of sculptures, clusters spaced across the canvas, or piled on top of each other.

Julius Kronberg

Julius Kronberg, “David och Saul”, 1885, Oil on Canvas, 298 x 220 cm, National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm, Sweden

Julius Kronberg received education at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm in the 1860s. A travel scholarship brought him to Paris via Düsseldorf and Copenhagen. He is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting.

Kronberg stayed in München where he continued studying before settling in Rome in 1877. He was a professor at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts between 1895-1898.

Carl Milles

Carl Milles, Poseidon Fountain in Gothenburg, Sweden

Carl Milles was a Swedish sculptor born in 1875 in Lagga outside Uppsala, Sweden. He moved to Paris and studied art, working in Auguste Rodin’s studio, gaining recognition as a sculptor. Milles sculpted the Poseidon statue in Gothenburg, the Gustaf Vasa statue at the Stockholm Nordic Museum, the Orpheus group outside the Stockholm Concert Hall and the Fountain of Faith in Falls Church, Virginia.

In Gothenburg’s main square, Götaplatsen, the imposing  twenty-three foot figure of Poseidon stands proudly atop the fountain. Completed in 1931 by Carl Milles, it has become an icon for Gothenburg.

Poseidon is a fitting figure to watch over the maritime city of Gothenburg. As the Greek god of the sea, he hears sailors’ prayers for calm waters and safe returns. As if to reiterate his position as the master of the waters, Milles sculpted him proudly lifting a large fish and shell toward the heavens.