Swedish icons 19: Nils Dardel

Nils von Dardel was born in 1888 in Bettna, Södermannland. He is considered one of Sweden’s most important post impressionist artists and his painting ‘Vattenfall’ is the most expensive modernistic Swedish painting ever to be sold at auction.

Born into a wealthy, cultural elite, Nils Dardel was able to spend his life as a nomad. On his travels around Europe, USA, Peru, Mexico, Asia, he painted people from varying backgrounds and all types of situations. He lived a self-destructive hedonistic lifestyle, which is apparent in several of his works , especially those from his pre-war burlesque Paris era.

His paintings are often very colourful and depict eccentricity and ambiguous sexuality. One of his famous paintings is ‘The Dying Dandy’ which today hangs in Stockholm’s Modern Museum, and is perhaps one of the most recognisable pieces of art from Sweden. Some of his other paintings are today on display around Sweden as well as in Paris, Oslo and Hamburg.

For 12 years, Nils Dardel was married to painter and author Thora Dardel although, given his hectic and bohemian lifestyle, he had affairs with both men and women. Together, they had one child – Ingrid – also herself an artist. She, in turn, became mother to two contemporary and acclaimed artists Henry Unger and Nils Ekwall.

Nils Dardel died of a heart attack in 1953 in the artist hotel The Beaux Arts on 44th Street in New York. He is buried on the island of Ekerö outside Stockholm.

Swedish art – a new world?

Karin Mamma Andersson – About a girl, (2005)


Going to the supermarket this weekend? Well, maybe not in the way you think….

This weekend, in Stockholm, is an art fair called Supermarket, which is an international artist-run fair that showcases artists from Sweden and all over the world. If you’re in Stockholm, it could be worth a visit. Here’s the link:SupermarketArtFair2017

Sweden and Art – is that a natural connection for you? How much do you know about Swedish art? If you are an art lover, then Sweden may very well be an undiscovered treasure trove for you.

Sweden has a strong artistic tradition and the art that is produced here often reflects the time and place in which it’s created. Art is good at that – at being the window to our souls, a kind of visual temperature check on how we as a society are feeling at that precise moment.

Let’s take the art form of painting as an example.

Looking back through history, there are many Swedish painters who became giants in their field. Very famous here, maybe not so famous outside of Sweden to those other than the die hards.

Ask somebody to name an artist and names such as Picasso, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, Kahlo probably come up. Probably names such as Larsson, Zorn, Bauer, Brate, Nyström, Jolin don’t come up in the first pass.

But maybe this is exactly what makes it so exciting. If you know nothing about Swedish artists, a whole world is waiting for you to discover.

Maybe you’re interested in discovering new Romantic art? Then check out traditionalists Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn. They were contemporaries and painted delightful pictures of Swedish pastoral life in the 1800’s, early 1900’s.

Or what if expressionism is more your cup of tea? Then check out Einar Jolin’s and Isaac Grunewald’s fabulous interpretations of Swedish society around the 1920’s. Or look up the post-impressionist Nils Dardel and his renound painting ‘The Dying Dandy’ painted in 1918.

Or is it contemporary art that rings your bell? Current painters who are worth looking into are Karin Mamma Andersson, Lars Lerin, Marie Louise Ekman, Linn Fernström, Peter Dahl and Sara-Vide Ericsson. And there are many more.

Or perhaps you want to buy some art, or make some connections? Then get yourself along to Supermarket and get inspired!