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Erik Höglund was one of Sweden’s foremost glass artists, whose innovative designs and glass making techniques revolutionized the scene of both art glass and serve ware in the 1950s. His bold and personal designs gave him and the glassworks Boda worldwide acclaim. Erik Höglund is considered the most influential Swedish glass artist of the 1950s and 1960s, alongside Ingeborg Lundin.
Höglund was admitted to the prestigious school Konstfack at the age of 16, first studying to become an art teacher, but later changing to the sculptor’s line. He rebelled against many of what he considered to be conventional ideas at the school, and was almost expelled. His nonconformism would follow him through his career, aiding him in following his own path and repeatedly breaking new ground.
Erik Höglund started working at Boda glassworks in 1953. At the time, Boda focused on producing high-quality serve ware in ethereal, cut-glass designs under the direction of Fritz Kallenberg. Höglund brought new perspectives and ideas, experimenting with the glass mass to give it a bubbly look and introducing colored glass and irregular finishes. These ideas were in direct opposition to the traditional ideas of what quality glass is, and Höglund was initially met with skepticism. He created rustic designs that allowed for everyday, multiple uses of glass, allowing it to be both functional and aesthetic. This down-to-earth idea appealed to both critics and collectors, although it took some years into the 1950s to win over the general public. In 1955, Erik Höglund’s glass was presented at the H55 Exhibition and one of his vases, whilst considered scandalous due to its suggestive decor, was purchased by the Swedish king. In 1957 he was awarded the Lunning Prize, its until then youngest awardee. Following that, his glass was exhibited in the Georg Jensen store on 5th Avenue in New York, making Erik Höglund and Boda world renowned.
Erik Höglund was a master of all artistic trades. His glass murals were an important part of his artistic deed, leading to many assignments of public decorations, around Sweden in churches, schools, banks and other public places, as well as in the United States and Australia. In the early 1960s he also started working with wrought iron, making chandeliers and candelabras, combined with glass or unadorned, that became hugely popular. Boda opened its own smithy, Boda Smide, to satisfy the demand. Höglund also worked with wood, creating rustic and playful children’s furniture, candle holders and beds.
Höglund left Boda in 1973 and worked with public assignments, often in collaboration with architects and his wife Ingrid Höglund. He continued to work with glass throughout the years for Pukeberg, Lindshammar and Strömbergshyttan glass works. He was was an incredibly productive artist, creating 150 public works from 1956 into the 1990s. Life cycles, sports and acrobatics, everyday life and family relationships were recurring sources of inspiration. Among his most notable work is the decoration of Johannelund Church in Linköping, which consisted of murals, glass sections, furnishing and the church silver. His work is represented by a permanent exhibition at Blekinge Länsmuseum and, among others, at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Röhsska museet in Gothenburg, Bellerive Kunstgewerbemuseum in Zürich and Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum in New York.
Litterature: “Från Boda till New York, konstnären Erik Höglund”. Gunnel Holmér. Carlssons Bokförlag, 1986.
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