In 1955, Svensk-Franska Konstgalleriet, the reknown Swedish Art Gallery in Stockholm, staged an exhibition comprising of works by the most celebrated Swedish artists of the 20th century. Amongst these was Märtha Bolin-Clason (1902-1988). It is with great pleasure and with great honour that Stockholms Auktionsverk has been entrusted to sell an important collection of this fascinating, but since then, more or less forgotten artist. The majority of the works that are offered originate until recently from the collection of the artist´s son.
Märtha Bolin-Clason is not easy to classify in arthistorical terms. Opposed to other Swedish artists of her generation she never confined herself to a distinct artistic style. Arthistorians have often defined her as belonging to the Naivist Movement. This, however, does not do justice to her multifaceted artistic achievement. Indeed, it is precisely her broad artistic temperament that indirectly resulted in her becoming forgotten. Most artists develop an artistic style that becomes their signum. Not so Märtha Bolin-Clason.
Having completed her studies at the Royal Academy in Stockholm in 1923, Märtha Bolin-Clason went to Paris to continue her studies at Académie Moderne, Fernand Légers famous school. In 1925 she returned to Stockholm and married the architect Gustaf Clason (1893-1964), son of the famous architect Isac Gustaf Clason (1856-1930), with whom she had four children.
Motherhood forced her to disappear from the official artscene for a period of more than ten years, to return only in 1937, when she held her first exhibition at Galerie Moderne in Stockholm, with a preface in the catalogue by no less than Otto G. Carlsund, the celebrated Swedish constructivist painter and art-theorist, whom had studied with Legér at the same time as Märtha Bolin-Clason. Carlsund provides us with an interesting insight to her work:
”Miss Bolin- now Mrs. Märtha Clason – was everything but a cubist painter. While all of us were obsessed by the demon of cubism and disregarded Impressionism, she went her own way incorporating the lessons tought by the impressionists in her work. After an absence due to motherhood, she has now returned to the artscene with an artistic style that cannot be described as anything else but her own, based only on her own talent. Her art is like an oasis in a hectic world. It shows that beyond the chaotic surface of daily life, there are deep currents of fresh, lifeinspiring water.”
The exhibition attracted the attention of the majority of the most celebrated Swedish artcritics of the time and were followed by a number of prestigious exhibitions. As late as in 1966, in spite of her age, she participated in an exhibition at De Ungas Salong (The Young Painters Salong), which attracted the attention of the upcoming artcritic Ollle Granath, later to become head of The Modern Museum of Art and Nationalmuseum:
”Märtha Bolin-Clason´s pictures sparcles of clarity. With a masterly hand she captures light and its influence on everything that surrounds us. Her compositions are often surprisingly daring. What is especially stimulating and refreshing about her work is that she does not seem to have any preconceived ideas of what pictures should look like.”
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