Inger Ekdahl 1922-2014

Inger Vivica Ekdahl was born in Ystad on 7th February 1922. She was a Swedish artist.

In 1944 Ekdahl attended Isaac Grünewald's painting school in Stockholm where she sudied under Grünewald before Grünewald's sudden death in 1946 - Isaac Grünewald (1889-1946) was a Swedish-Jewish expressionist painter widely acknowledged as being responsible for introducing Modernism to Sweden. It was here that she met the Swedish artist Eric H. Olson (1907-1995). Ekdahl and Olson married in 1944 before attending the Otte Sköld School of Painting in Stockholm together for a year in 1945.

In 1947, Ekdahl studied under the French sculptor, painter and writer André Lhote (1885-1962) in Paris. During their time in Paris, Ekdahl and Olson were introduced to, and became friends with the artists Hans Arp (1886-1966) and Victor Vasarely (1906-1997). Ekdahl was also good friends with the legendary Parisian gallerist Denise René (1931-2012). Ekdahl and Olson fequently travelled to Zurich and northern Italy. They returned to Sweden in 1951 and lived in Stockholm. In 1977 they moved to Malmö.

Ekdahl¬ís first exhibited in Stockholm in 1947 (Åleby Expo). Other solo exhibitions include Umeå (1950) and Verona, Italy, (1950). Ekdahl and Olson were both members of the The Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (see below) and, in 1950 and 1951, Ekdahl was selected to exhibit with them in Paris. In Stockholm, Ekdahl exhibited alongside the Swedish artist Rune Hagberg (1924-2015) at Galleri Gummesons. Gummesons Gallery is one Scandinavia's foremost contemporary art galleries. Launched in 1912 by Carl Gummeson, a local book dealer, it quickly forged a reputation for supporting Modern Art.

Inger Ekdahl died in Malmo in 2014. She was 92

Following Ekdahl's death in 2014, her artistic estate was donated to the Ystad Art Museum who honoured her with a retrospective exhibition 'Konstruktioner i Samklang' (Constructions in Tune) at the museum (14th February to 17th April) in 2016. Since 2015, the museum has annually awarded the 'Eric and Inger Olson Ekdahl scholarship' to two artists who produce abstract works of art.

In his obituary of Ekdahl, the Swedish art historian and critic Thomas Millroth likended her to a Swedish Bridget Riley or Vera Molnar and said that 'in our country, she was completely unique... and is now waiting for her rightful place in art history'.


The Salon des Réalités Nouvelles

The Salon des Réalités Nouvelles is an association of artists (and an art exhibition) in Paris, which focuses on abstract art. The exhibition takes place annually in October and ranks among the top Parisian art salons.

The expression 'Réalités Nouvelles' (New realities) was penned in 1912 by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. He viewed abstraction as the best way to express modern reality.

The first exhibition was held in 1939 in Galerie Charpentier, organised by Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Nelly van Doesburg and Fredo Sidès. In 1946 the Salon was officially established as a successor to Abstraction-Création by Fredo Sidès, and its first board included Jean Arp, Sonia Delaunay and Albert Gleizes as members. Sidès was chairman until his death in 1953.

With enthusiastic critical support in its early days, the Salon quickly proved successful, presenting geometric and concrete works by artists such as Jean Dewasne and Victor Vasarely as well as non-figurative works by Pierre Soulages, Georges Mathieu, Vieira de Silva, and Robert Motherwell.

Inger Ekdahl