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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Carl Wilhelmson

Painting geography. Carl Wilhelmson was from the cold, ice, and snow of Sweden. Artist from our desert southwest, such as Georgia O'Keeffe, seldom painted snow.
There is probably no greater influence for a painter than geography. No, I don't mean painting maps. Especially for landscape painters, but also the genre painter, and perhaps even the portrait artist, the natural beauty, and the native beauty (such as family, friends, and paid models of the opposite sex) them cannot help but provide a major source of inspiration. Even if the artist travels a great deal, new geographic environment he or she discovers, sketches, or photographs, is one the major reason they do so. I've got several folders full of digital images from far off lands which I one day plan to paint. When I think back over the more than fifty years I've been an artist, I'd venture to say as much as half my work in some way reflects where I've been, or where I live, or people I know.
Resignation, 1895, Carl Wilhelmson.
Like Carl Wilhelmson, we are nearly all "environmental" artists. We paint our personal environment regardless of where on earth we happen to be. Only the most jaded artist can resist the urge to render for others the beauty they find all around them. I suppose the same applies to artist exposed to the ugliness of the times and places they find themselves. The death of a loved one is probably the most traumatizing environmental experience an artist might face, yet Wilhelmson relives it, turning to impending death for inspiration in his painting, Resignation (above) from 1895. As much as the German artist, Max Beckmann, was traumatized by what he saw of World War I, he was still unable to avoid reliving its horrors in his art.
The painter of the "boat people" of Sweden's western coast.
The Good Shepherdess,
1913, Carl Wilhelmson
Carl Wilhelmson was born in 1866. He was a Swedish painter and lith-ographer. Wilhelmson trained first as a commercial lithographer in Göte-borg. In 1886 he enrolled as a stu-dent of decorative painting at Valand College of Art where his teacher was Carl (Olof) Larsson. In 1888, having obtained a travel grant, he went to Leipzig to study lithographic tech-nique. From 1890 to 1896 he lived in Paris, where he worked as a lith-ographer and commercial artist and studied at the Academie Julian. Wil-helmson's preferred subject matter was the coastal landscape of Boh-uslen, (southwestern) Sweden, and the people of its little fishing villages. He depicts wooden houses huddling against the cold geography. There is no trace of ethnography in his depic-tions of local life. They are full of ser-ious realism displaying a sensitive insight into the perilous life of fishermen, he had been familiar with since childhood.

The 'boat people' whether working for their daily brod (bread), or traveling to thank God for it, Wilhelmson knew them well and painted them well.
Although he was not so well-known for them, Carl Wilhelmson also painted portraits. One of his most famous (in Sweden, at least) was that of Johan Olof Hjalmar Lundbohm. Lundbohm (below) was a Swedish geologist and chemist, also the first managing director of LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag) in Kiruna. The Group currently supplies industrial minerals and products with other applications related to iron ore. In addition, LKAB has a number of wholly owned subsidiaries that supply rail transport, mining explosives, and engineering services, as well as a real estate company that owns and manages 2,300 properties in Malmberget and Kiruna. Lundbohm is regarded as the founder of the Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden.

Hjalmar Lundbohm was a Swedish geologist and chemist.
At the age of fourteen, Carl Wilhelmson began to study painting in Gothenburg. After studying abroad in from 1890 until 1897 in Spain, Leipzig and Paris, Wilhelmson worked as a lithographer (a cutting edge art at the time). In 1897, he accepted the position as director of his old school, the Gothenburg Museum of Literature and Painting in the Valandhuset. He stayed there until 1910, whereupon he led a painter's school in Stockholm, and also acted as a teacher. In 1925 he became a professor of painting at the Royal Institute of Fine Arts. Carl Wilhelmson chose his motifs mainly from his hometown in Bohuslän. In the years 1911-1913 he made a summer villa (below) in Fiskebäckskil, designed by Ivar Callmande. The house, which is still in the family's possession, is open to the public one day a year during the summer. Carl Wilhelmson died there in 1928.
Carl Wilhelmson's studio villa in Fiskebäckskil, Sweden.
Evening at the Harbor, Carl Wilhelmson.
The Footbridge, Lidingobron,
1918, Carl Wilhelmson

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