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Olle Ohlsson is a Swedish silversmith with a unique artistic expression that pushes limits. Trained as an artisan before studying to become an artist, he developed his own style at an early stage and was less influenced by the aesthetic ideals of the time. His work includes jewelry, corpus, sculpture and imaginative utilitarian items, such as bejeweled gold handles for canes.
Olle Ohlsson was born in Stockholm and grew up with his parents and sister in a creative home. His father was a musician and an innovative stay-at-home father. His mother, who was the family bread winner, was a cutter. She had been an artist’s model as a young woman and had been model to Carl Milles during the creation of the ”Orfeus” sculpture in Stockholm. The unconventional way of life had a big part in shaping Ohlsson into an artist who formed his own path.
He worked as an apprentice at C. G. Hallberg jewelers firm from 1944 to 1949, getting a sterling craftsman’s eduction. He proceeded to work for other firms including Atelier Borgila, Erik Fleming, W. A. Bohlin and Claës Giertta. Working for Giertta was particularly influential, since freedom in creativity was boosted there. He also began taking evening classes at Konstfack, which marked the start of his transition from artisan to artist. As a way of liberating his creativity, Olle Ohlsson started drawing in an abstract, seeking way that is reminiscent of cave paintings. This suggestive way of drawing can be seen rendered in the decor of many of his creations.
Olle Ohlsson started work as a designer at Ge-Kå jewelry firm in 1960. In his free time he experimented with silver, heating it up and making it shrink. He balanced on the edge of being a designer and an artist, which was met with some confusion from critics who expected to be able to place creators in one of the categories. However, at his debut in NK in 1965 he was applauded as being a brilliant renewer of his trade. He went on to work with silver and gold in unconventional ways, including precious stones as well as natural ones into his designs. Among his works are a set of gold cases, made from gold donated by the camera maker Victor Hasselblad, a golden anthill, silver teapots and hat sculptures. He has also created several public works, such as doors, wall reliefs, gates and prizes, including a gold potato for the Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer. He is represented at, among others, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Goldsmiths’ Hall in London and Oslo Museum.
Literature: Silver & Guld. Olle Ohlsson. Gunnar Brusewitz & Anne-Marie Ericsson. Förlags AB Wiken, 1991
Gunnar Nylund was one of the most influential ceramicists and designers of the Swedish mid-century period. He was Rörstrand’s creative leader from 1931 until 1949 and as such propelled the artistic work at the factory and served as mentor to younger artists, among them Carl-Harry Stålhane and Hertha Bengtsson.
Nylund was a dedicated functionalist, who brought ideas of democratizing stoneware and creating beautiful, qualitative and affordable everyday items for the people to Rörstand in the mid-1920s. The factory had at the time lost its former leading market position, but Nylund’s efforts gave it a great reboot. He designed ceramic kitchenware inspired by the ideas of Le Corbusier and Bauhaus, for use in homes, restaurants and inside refrigerators (a progressive idea in the early 1940s when it was launched). He is best known for his exquisite decorative stoneware items which include an abundance of vases, wall reliefs, sculptures and animal figurines. The materials range from velvety smooth stoneware to rough and chunky chamotte.
Danish born, Gunnar Nylund started his career in Denmark following art studies, a year of architecture studies and years of private lesson from his sculptor father, the artist Felix Nylund. He worked for Bing & Grøndahl early in his professional life and started the ceramic studio Nylund & Krebs, later Saxbo, with his colleague Nathalie Krebs in 1929. He returned to Bing & Grøndahl throughout the years as a freelance designer. He also worked for the ceramic studio Nymølle from 1957 to 1961.
Gunnar Nylund had a long and active career that except for stoneware included bathroom furnishing designs for Ifö, glass vases for Strömbergshyttan, a dinosaur sculpture for Bromölla kommun and several public works. He was an inventor who explored ideas for energy production and many other areas. He was active as a ceramicist into the late years of his long life.
Nylund is held in high esteem today for his beautiful stoneware and exquisite glazes that continue to awe and satisfy the senses.
Literature: Gunnar Nylund: konstnär och industriformgivare. Petter Eklund. Historiska Media, 2017
Ingeborg Lundin was a Swedish glass artist, whose 1950s and 1960s designs are among the most influential of that era. Lundin got her education at Konstfack in Stockholm and started working at Orrefors directly after her graduation in 1947. She stayed at Orrefors until 1971, redefining the art of glass design with her pure, gracious, sometimes ethereal creations. Ingeborg Lundin received the Lunning prize in 1954 and a gold medal at the Milano Triennale in 1957.
Literature: Svenskt glas. Åke Huldt. Wahlström & Widstrand, 1991
Fred Leyman was a Swedish artist, schooled at the renowned Valand Art Academy in Gothenburg during the 1950s. Leyman worked in a distinctly modernist style influenced by the international modernist movement, music, political ideas and the environment in which he lived. He is best known for his around 40 large-scale sculptures erected in public spaces in Gothenburg and other parts of southwestern Sweden.
Fred Leyman lived on the island of Orust with his wife and children, in accordance with what he found to be ”a good life” – close to nature on a small farm with sheep and horses. He was also deeply interested in music, particularly traditional folk music. Both the open, marine landscape of Orust and the rhytmical qualitites in music were vital forces in his artistry and in the development of his personal style. Leyman used iron and steel and sometimes wood and leather in his sculptures. These are characterized by sharp and billowing graphic lines and the use of negative space, seemingly always reaching somewhere. It is an expression striking the perfect balance between abstract and concrete.
Leyman’s materials of choice were particularly suitable for large and sustainable sculptures and making public works was a substantail part of his career. However he also created many small-scale sculptures in the same, yet distilled, style of his large works. Nordlings is proud to introduce a collection of Fred Leyman sculptures made for interiors and private homes. The sculptures originate from Leyman’s estate and have never previously been available on the market.
Source: Interview with the artist’s family
Vicke Lindstrand was one of Sweden’s most influential glass artists, with a long, fruitful career where he set the tone of the style and quality of Swedish glass production over many decades. He was originally trained as an illustrator and was very accomplished as such, which is evident for example in his glass engravings. Lindstrand was employed as an artist by Orrefors glassworks from 1928 to 1940 where he worked alongside Simon Gate and Nils Landberg, among others.
Vicke Lindstrand turned to ceramics and worked as creative leader at Uppsala-Ekeby between 1942 and 1950. He brought with him his high sense of quality which elevated Uppsala-Ekeby’s overall production and was very important for the company’s development.
From Uppsala-Ekeby Lindstrand returned to glass as creative leader at Kosta glassworks, where he worked from 1950 to 1973, breaking new ground with new shapes, strong colors and a ceaseless richness of ideas. He made many important contributions with public artworks, among the the “Prisma” glass sculpture which was uncovered in Norrköping in 1967. At the time it was the largest glass sculpture in the world with its imposing height of 11.5 meters. Towards the end of his career Lindstrand worked in a small scale with smaller glass studios.
Jorma Laine was one of the most unique voices in the history of Scandinavian jewelry, and is considered one of the most interesting Nordic silversmiths of the 1960s and 1970s. He developed a very characteristic abstract, modernistic style of working with silver and bronze, and is best known his work for the firm Turun Hopea, but he also worked for the firm Kultateollisuus Ky and his own firm Silver-Laine. He lived large parts of his life as a recluse in a cabin deep in the Finnish woods. There he lived close to the wildlife and got his inspiration from nature itself but also the from local myths of spirits and gnomes. His pieces range from beautiful geometrical pieces inspired by snowflakes to whimsical but oddly beautifull small sourly portraits of spirits.
Wiwen Nilsson was one of the most celebrated and influential silversmiths of his time. He was the son of silversmith Anders Nilsson and started his career working for his father. He debuted at the Gothenburg Exhibition of 1923 with a very strict, graphic coffee set which was met with very bad reviews. However later, in 1930, his designs became a huge success as it seems general taste was then finally ready for them. Typical of Wiwen Nilssons designs are the clean, geometric lines that express the beauty of the material.
Oscar Nilsson was an architect contemporary of Carl Malmsten and Axel Einar Hjort, designing exclusive modern furniture and interiors for NK, Bodafors and the coalition of master cabinet makers Stockholms stads hantverksförening during the 1920s and 1930s, before starting as head of the architectural department of SJ, Sweden’s national railway company, in 1937.