Karl Axel Pehrson

Karl Axel Pehrson was born in Örebro, Sweden in 1921. Died in Stockholm in 2005.

Biography - CV

Karl Axel Pehrson was born in Örebro, Sweden in 1921. Died in Stockholm in 2005.
He was a painter, graphic designer and a sculptor. When he painted he portrays the light and the summer. He painted invented landscapes, vegetations and animals (mostly insects, in particular the beetle). He was the master of fantasy and he loved life itself.

He started to paint abstract, the painting was movement filled with colored surfaces cutting into each other. Since the beginning of the 1960’s he has been influenced of plants and insects, form and color. Karl Axel Pehrson is the originator of the Gold Beetle. Karl Axel Pehrson was born in 1921. His mother raised him and his seven siblings on her own after the father was killed in an automobile accident in 1922, at this time Karl Axel, who was the youngest of the children, was only 10 months old. The family bonds were very strong. In the evenings the children would gather in the large managing director’s home in Örebro for reading aloud and music playing. 

In the winters he would attend school at the Karolinska Läroverket. Drawing soon became his favorite subject. He also had the great fortune to have a teacher with unusual enthusiasm – Sven Hemmel, who departed from the usual routines and attempted with the help of reproductions to prompt the students interest of the modern art, such as: Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Miró and others. 

After the first year of college, Karl Axel abandoned school. The mother had at this point accepted that he should become an artist. First however, he should embark on an “educational trip” together with his eldest brother Karl Erik to Austria, the year was 1936.

In the fall of 1937 he was enrolled in Edvard Berggren’s school of painting in Stockholm. It became a short stay. In the spring of 1938 he began at Otte Sköld’ school, where he met his future wife, the young painter Birgit Nilsson.

In 1940 he was accepted at the Art Academy in Stockholm. He stayed there until 1946, only interrupted by military service in the years 1942 – 1944. To keep himself occupied, he developed a strange collecting mania. Whenever he was granted leave, he ventured into the haberdasher’s shops of Stockholm and bought buttons, which he later carefully classified according to color, material and amount of holes. He was also painting, even though he destroyed most of it again. His brother Karl Gustaf could isolate his garage using the discharged masonite panels. The last years at the Art Academy, he was the student of Sven X-et Erixson. The atmosphere around X-et was very stimulating because of the enthusiasm that he created. He wanted the students to follow their impulses regardless of where it took them. A fellow student – Lennart Rodhe also brought about a wealth of artistic creativity. Rodhe had for several years attended Rostrup Boyesen’s school in Copenhagen and had there become most confident with the classic tradition of painting. His eruditions appealed to the systematic mind of Karl Axel. 

Karl Axel has always approached his work in a methodical way. In the same way that he collected the buttons – he now, with even greater enthusiasm began to collect beetles and forms. The moment he came across a new form, perhaps while cluttering when he was on the telephone, he would save it and add it to his “Formbook”. In other words, the forms that show themselves in the paintings around this time have not appeared while he was painting.

In April of 1954, Karl Axel Pehrson had his first separate exhibition at Galerie Blanche. At this exhibition he did not only show works in watercolors and paintings but also numerous sculptures. These were, as opposed to the watercolors offensive and obscene. It was tassels, protuberances, shriveled up stuff, whiskers, warts, swellings ……Karl Axel were to make sculptures for many years to come. The provocations however, subsided soon after the exhibition at Galerie Blanche.

The music has been a part of Karl Axel throughout the years. He played the piano in a local Jazz orchestra while doing his military service.

The above text is the summery from Ulf Lindes book about Karl Axel Pehrson, ISBN 91-528-0932-8

Selected exhibitions:
2009        Galerie Bel'Art, Stockholm, ¨Music for the eye - A tribute¨
2006        Thielska galleriet, Stockholm
2005        Konstnärshuset, Stockholm
2004        Galerie Bel’Art, Stockholm, ¨Recent Paintings¨
2003        Borås Art Museum
                Nässjö Museum
2002        Grafoteket, Stockholm
                Group exhibition: “ Unga damer och älder herrar”, Länsmuseet, Gävleborg
               “Fantasi och verklighet”, Graphic art exhibition in Djakarta, 
               Indonesia, arranged by Galleri Astley in collaboration with the 
               Swedish Embassy, in Djakarta.
2001       Group exhibition: “Unga damer och alder herrar”, Uppsala Art
               Museum and the Art Hall in Hishult.
2000       Exhibition at Galleri Argo, Stockholm.
1992       Retrospective exhibition at the Art Academy, Stockholm.
1991       Exhibition at Galerie Viktor.
1989       Exhibition at the Art Centrum in Gävle, the Town Hall in
               Örnsköldsvik and Örebro county Museum.
1988       Exhibition at Galleri Astley, third exhibition at Thielska galleriet.
1982       Second exhibition at Thielska galleriet.
1977       First exhibition at Thielska galleriet.
1973       First exhibition at Galerie Astley, Uttersberg.
1972       Exhibition “Fantasi och verklighet”, the National Museum for 
               Natural history. Retrospective exhibition at Thielska galleriet.
1970       Separate exhibition at Galerie Burén, Stockholm.
1967       Exhibition at Stockholm municipal museum.
1964       Exhibition at Galerie Burén, Stockholm.
1963       Exhibition at Galerie Burén, Stockholm.
1962       Exhibition at Eskilstuna museum and Galerie Maneten, Göteborg.
1961       Exhibition at SDS-hall in Malmö.
1955       Participates in Swedish abstract traveling exhibition, arranged by
               The Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Separate exhibition at
               The Art Hall, Södertälje.
1954       Separate exhibition at Galerie Blanche, Stockholm.
1953       Participates in the Concrete Exhibition at Denis René in Paris.
1948       Participates in the exhibition “Konkret” at Galerie Blanche, Stockholm
               Participates in the exhibition “Realités Nouvelles” in Paris.
1947       Participates in the exhibition “Ung Konst” at Färg och Form in Stockholm. 

A selection of Public Commissions:
1990        Adornment in the dining hall of the Speakers, in the Parliament Building, Stockholm.
1978        Executes cupola adornment for Thielska galleriet.
1974        Composes two tapestries for the National Bank, woven by 
                “Handarbetets Vänner”. Executes Nobel Prize Diploma for
                Prize receivers in Physics, Sir Anthony Hewish and Sir Martin Ryle.
1972        Executes adornment consisting of a painting, beetle exhibition case,
                as well as two sculptures for Sturups airport.
1968        Adornment “Annorlunda verklighet” for the city hall in Örebro.
1967-68   Executes adornment with insect-sculptures, “Djur som inte finns” at
                Gärdets subway station.
1964        Executes “Guldbaggen”, Swedish film-Oscar.
1958-59   Executes wall painting “Strandens håvor” for the new Postal hall in Örebro.
1957-58   Executes wall painting “Springvända”, in the office of the Swedish 
                Handelsbanken, Hötorgscity in Stockholm.
1955        Executes stucco lustro-painting, for Astra AB in Södertälje, together
                with Olle Bonniér, Lage Lindell, Pierre Olofsson and Lennart Rodhe.
1954        Executes ceiling painting in Halmstads new Public House Theatre, 
                together with Pierre Olofsson. Executes wall painting, “Tempererad
                Stigning” at the entrance to Astra AB, in Södertälje.
1951        Executes wall painting in the garrison hospital in Bodens. Executes
                Relief in concrete, for the secondary grammar school in Blackeberg.

Translated by Anette Lindegaard