Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Commemorating Swedish Painters

Every now and then I pay a visit to my local Art Gallery in Armidale. I love spending time surrounded by such amazing creativity.  The paintings are a definite favourite.  I find myself easily immersed in the worlds created by the artists.  So it stands to reason I also admire paintings reproduced on stamps,  especially those that have been painstakingly recreated through engraving.  Among his numerous engraving talents,  it is my humble opinion that Czeslaw Slania is a true master- perhaps the best - at bringing paintings to life on stamps through the art of engraving.  Slania replicated many fine pieces of art during his distinguished career. In this blog I shall focus on two paintings he reproduced on stamps for Sweden in 1978. The painters were both Swedish. Karl Isakson and Ivar Arosenius.

Karl Oscar Isakson (16th January, 1878 - 19th February, 1922) was a painter born in Stockholm, Sweden. He spent a large number of his painting years in Denmark. He is held in Denmark as one of the fathers of Modernism. For more on Modernism click HERE. He had a close association with the Bornholm school of Painters. A favourite subject of his was Ertholmene, a small archipelago northeast of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. This place is generally referred to as Christiansø. He also painted still-lifes and models in a Copenhagen studio.

The painting chosen to commemorate Isakson was a nude study painted between 1918-1920 not long before his death. The female subject of the painting stands with her back to us. Colourful wall-hangings and pillows in the background serve to highlight the feminine form of the subject. Slania has faithfully captured the tonal qualities of the painting through the skillful use of burin (the engraver's tool) on steel.


Ivar Axel Henrik Arosenius (8th October, 1878 - 2nd January, 1901) was a Swedish painter. He was also the author of picture books, most notably the book Kattresan (The Cat Journey), published after he died. Some of Ivar Arosenius's paintings can be seen at the Museum of Art in Gotheburg.

The painting chosen for commemoration on a stamp was a Self-Portrait with Floral Wreath, painted in 1906. Again Slania has reproduced this rather haunting portrait - it is to me at least - in stunning detail and clarity.

These two stamps are masterpieces in and of themselves. I look forward to studying more of Slania's paintings on stamps!

Until next time...

Stay Slania Crazy!

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