Anders B. Liljefors (1923-1970)

Anders B. Liljefors was a Swedish ceramicist, sculptor and painter. He spent a total of ten years at Gustavsberg, first from 1947 to 1953 and secondly from 1955 to 1957. At Gustavsberg he revolutionized the perspective on stoneware with his free form creations, opening for stoneware to be considered art as well as arts and crafts.

He studied sculpture at Edward Berggrens Målarskola for Ivar Jonsson, painting at Målarskolan for Isaac Grünewald, and at Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi in Copenhagen. After starting his employment at Gustavsberg in 1947, he quickly gained a reputation as an eccentric, both in regards to his production and as a person. He soon got his own studio, where he developed a very personal style. It stood in stark contrast to the artistic ideas of Wilhelm Kåge, Berndt Friberg and Stig Lindberg, who strived for perfection in forms and glazes.  Nonetheless, his first separate exhibition at NK in 1952 was a success.

During his second period at Gustavsberg, Anders B. Liljefors started experimenting with casting ceramics in sand, a technique that gave his stoneware distinctive surfaces and forms. The pieces were often decorated with the glazes that the Wilhelm Kåge, Berndt Friberg and Stig Lindberg had deemed substandard. The new ceramics were presented in an exhibition in 1956 and while they represented a revolution in stoneware, all critics and connoisseurs were not charmed. For many, the bulky forms and “slimy” glazes were too far from the prevalent artistic ideals. However, Liljefors’ work foreboded a freer, more artistic future for ceramics. In the early 1960s Bengt Berglund continued on the same path and is considered Anders B. Liljefors’ spiritual heir.

Following his time at Gustavsberg, Anders B. Liljefors set up his own ceramic studios in Roslagen outside Stockholm and in Blekinge in the south of Sweden. He died unexpectedly from a heart attack at a ceramics’ symposium in Hungary in 1970.

His production included vases, bowls, birds, abstract sculptures, wall reliefs etc. His public works include a 450 m² ceramic wall relief in Folkets Hus in Stockholm, created in collaboration with Signe Persson-Melin between 1959 and 1960. He is represented at Nationalmuseum, Röhsska muséet and Victoria and Albert Museum, among others.

Literature: Gustavsberg: Porslinet, Fabriken, Konstnärerna. Gösta Arvidsson, Norstedts, 2007.