Berta Hansson 1910-1994

Berta Elisabet Hansson was born in Hammerdal, Jämtland County on 23rd June 1910. She was a Swedish artist and school teacher.

Hansson grew up on a farm in Jämtland. Following the death her mother and sister she attended school in Sigtuna, Stockholm (1927-1928)

After graduating from teacher training school in Umeå (1934), Hansson became a school teacher in Fredrika, Lapland. From an early age Hansson had a keen interest in drawing and incorporated it whenever she could in her lessons.

During a teaching trip to Linköping in 1938, Hansson met the Swedish painter Leoo Verde (1904-1976) and started to use oil paints. In 1940 she spent the summer studying under Brita Nordencreutz (1899-1982) and at Otte Sköld's Painting School (Otte Skölds Målarskola) in Stockholm.

During a visit to Fredrika in 1941, the Swedish writer, journalist and artist Elsa Björkman-Goldschmidt (1888-1982) met Hansson and was so impressed with her work that she arranged for her to have a solo exhibition in 1943 at the Färg och Form (Colour and Shape) Gallery in Stockholm

In 1945 Hansson left Fredrika and moved back to her father’s farm in Hammerdal to pursue a career as a full time artist. In 1947 she moved to Stockholm.

After the Second World War, opportunities for travel abroad became easier and Hansson travelled widely. She visited France, Italy and Egypt and in 1953 she spent a year living (at a Church of Sweden mission station) in South Africa. Alongside the then Swedish Bishop, Helge Fosseus (1912-2002), Hansson developed a school's art education program in KwaZulu-Natal - which later developed into centre for local textile production. Hansson returned to Africa frequently during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In addition to painting and drawing, Berta Hansson produced a number of large textile works for public display. In the early 1970s she began to produce sculptural works - mainly children's portraits in terracotta and bronze.

Example of Hansson¬ís works are held in the collections of Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art) and Nationalmuseum (National Museum) National in Stockholm, Museum Anna Nordlander in Skellefteå and museums in Östersund, Linköping and Umeå.

Berta Hansson died in Stockholm on 3rd September 1994, aged 84.

In 2017, the children's book 'The Bird Within Me Flies Wherever It Wants' (Fågeln i Mig Flyger vart den Vill) - a fairy tale based on Hansson's life - was published by Sara Lundberg.

Färg och Form (Colour and Shape) Gallery

Färg och Form was an exhibition space in Stockholm where artists were able to sell their works directly to buyers. Establised in 1932 by fourteen painters and sculptors, the original group included Bror Hjorth, Vera Nilsson, Sven Erixson and Gunnar Svenson. The gallery was named after the acclaimed (1913) overview of modern painting by the Swedish writer and critic August Brunius (1879-1926). In April 1935 the gallery was reported to the police for 'the wounding of discipline and morality'. The Gallery closed, after 70 years, in June 2002.

Berta Hansson