Biography of Axel Olson (1899-1986)

Swedish painter born in 1899 and died in 1986. It belonged to the one known as "group of Halmstad" (Halmstadgruppe), Swedish pictorial trend close to the French surrealists grouped around André Breton.

Like many of his contemporaries, the artistic formation of Axel Olson was heterogeneous and drew both traditional academic teaching and the essential connection with the centers of artistic influence on the first third of the twentieth century, Paris and Berlin. Born in a family that appreciated artistic manifestations, Olson began his studies of art in the company of his brother, the painter Erik Olson (1901-1986). Your little age difference, similar academic background and the coincidence of their artistic proposals attached form its decisive their lives. Until in 1929 of the "group of Halmstad", Axel Olson went through the school of art of Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964), Russian constructivist sculptor who had settled in Berlin. Olson later entered as a disciple in the workshop of Georg Adrian Nilsson (1871-1949) known as GAN. His passing by his workshop was Olson the imprint of a taste by the abstraction of geometric, indebted to the cubo-futurismo practiced by GAN. Following his transfer in 1930 to Halmstad in the company of his brother Erik and artists Sven Jonson, Esaias Thorén, Stellan Mörner, Waldemar Lorentzon, the work of Olson was decanted into surrealism that characterized the group, but noted his work from the peers for a greater lightness in the layout of shapes that recall the lyrical abstractions of Kandinsky. In KLIPPAN fodelse (1934, Museum of Halmstad), Olson builds a strong dreamlike and metaphorical content scene juxtaposing a savour female figure on a flat background populated by stylized shadows and organic buildings. Later works of Olson as a portrait of my brother Erik (1938) or Korgstonlen (1940, both in private collection, Sverige) presented one more surreal traditional taste facet in its production; the first evocative composition of the paintings of his brother shows the influence of Salvador Dalí; the second is a representation of an armchair on a spectral landscape and that the artist feeds with rich surrealist iconography of strong evocative power.


ROBACH, CILLA; WIGH, LEIF and RAGNAR VON HOLTEN. Utopi & Verklighet: Svensk Modernism 1900-1960. (Stockholm, modern Museum, 2001).

ENGBLOM, SOREN. From interspaces and broken metaphors. (Stockholm, Editorial Institute Swedish, 1998).

VV.. Surrealismen i Danmark. 1930-1950 (København, Statens Museum for Kunst, 1986).

Internet links; (web site in Spanish with works and information about Olson and the Halmstad group).