Contemporary art

A Love of Colour – the Gothenburg Colourist Painters

1 April 2017 – 27 August 2017

A Love of Colour – the Gothenburg Colourist Painters

The grand summer exhibition at the Bohuslän Contemporary Art Gallery presents paintings by the Gothenburg colourists, a group that is mainly associated with a quartet of highly colourful and expressive artists – Ragnar Sandberg, Inge Schiöler, Åke Göransson and Ivan Ivarson. In point of fact the Gothenburg colourists include numerous other artists who, over the years, have been relegated to a rather obscure role in art history. With the exhibition A Love of Colour we hope to give a more comprehensive presentation of the Gothenburg colourists. The exhibition includes about 100 paintings by 25 artists.

The Gothenburg colourist school has principally been regarded as an aspect of expressive and lyrical outdoor painting from Sweden’s west coast – seas persistently breaking on the rocks, blushing sunsets and bathing on hot days, all portrayed either in mild pastel shades or in fiercely glowing colours. What these artists had in common was that they had all attended the Valand Academy where they were taught by Tor Bjurström during the period 1920 to 1929. Bjurström particularly emphasized the importance of colour in his teaching. Ivan Ivarson expressed this very clearly: “For painting is primarily narrating and reproducing using colour. If colour does not play the primary role the result may be art but it is not painting”. Though beneath the eye-catching and life-affirming surfaces to their paintings there were also darker aspects present in their personal narratives.

The importance of Bohuslän

Several of the Gothenburg colourists had grown up in the province of Bohuslän, among them Schiöler and Sandberg, as well as the sisters Karin Parrow and Märta Taube-Ivarsson. Accordingly we have chosen to give particular emphasis to landscape painting in the exhibition. Several of the artists met regularly on Stenungsön and at Slussen on the island of Orust during the 1930s. Artist David Larsson’s house ‘Tjap Karbo Hill’ situated at Slussen was a popular meeting place for several of the artists.

With the exhibition A Love of Colour we hope to give visitors a more comprehensive picture of the Gothenburg colourists, describing their origins and their artistic breadth, indicating how their approach changed over the years as well as illustrating the range they once displayed. Included in the exhibition are new documentary films devoted to the colourists by Pontus Hjorthén who directed Ett nytt liv, a film about Inge Schiöler in 2014.

The exhibition includes paintings by the following artists: Frithiof Berglund, Folke Andreasson, Birger Berndtson, Tor Bjurström, Evald Björnberg, Inga Englund-Kihlman, Åke Göransson, Carsten Hvistendahl, Karl Isakson, Ivan Ivarson, Carl Kylberg, David Larsson, Kristian Lundstedt, Ragnvald Magnusson, Nils Nilsson, Elvine Osterman Nordwall, Karin Parrow, Ragnar Sandberg, Gösta Sandels, Inge Schiöler, Birger Simonsson, Waldemar Sjölander, Märta Taube-Ivarsson, Sigfrid Ullman and Erling Ärlingsson.