Olle Nordberg (1905-1986)

Born in the Lake Mälaren Islands, Nordberg was a child prodigy, enrolling at the Stockholm Academy of Art at just 15. He studied there from 1920 to 1926 under Albert Engström, Alfred Bergström and Carl Wilhelmsson. Like many of his Swedish contemporaries he travelled widely, visiting Italy, France, Spain and Norway on painting study trips. He was particularly impressed by the folk art in the Slavic countries.

He enjoyed a successful career as a fine artist, sculptor and cartoonist. He was a member of a group of artists called ‘De Young’ and found most of his inspiration in the rocky islands and coasts around the Swedish Archipelago in Norrland.

Nordberg was known for the humour and naivety of his figurative works and was called the Chagall of the Mälaren Islands. His imagination and ingenuity transformed the everyday subjects he favoured into comic burlesques, infused with something of a fairy tale aura that lightened the otherwise humdrum scenes of real life in post war Sweden.

Nordberg’s work was part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1936 Summer Olympics.  It is therefore of no surprise that his work is represented in the Gothenburg Art Museum, the Swedish Modern Museum and the Kalmar Art Museum.

Nordberg's studio still exists on the island of Munsö and is now a museum.  The world auction record for Nordberg’s work is still held by Christie’s, who sold a large oil in 2008 for £15,000.

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